Inclusion? First, let’s save more, BSP says-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Monday, September 10, 2012
TO ENCOURAGE more people to start saving, the financial consumer affairs group of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) held a financial education expo for students and financial professionals yesterday.
Johnny Noe Ravalo, managing director of the BSP’s supervision and examination sector, said they want to spread to the public the benefits of saving and the discipline needed to continue doing so.
He said many find it difficult to start saving because the future is uncertain and needs have to be met. But he said they hope to instill the discipline of setting aside an amount for different stages in life.
The financial education expo is part of the BSP’s economic and financial learning program, which intends to reach out to various communities to share ideas and insights about personal finance.
Ravalo added that the Cebu expo is especially important to them because it is being held ahead of the international seminar on financial inclusion and financial literacy, which the BSP is co-hosting with the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD).
The expo featured eight booths that tackled the Philippine financial system, consumer protection, currency concerns, personal finance, financial products, financial regulators, a primer hub to display primers, advisories and tips, and financial inclusion, where learning sessions were held to divide the participants.
They also have a live demonstration on mobile banking, which will demonstrate how systems can be used for transferring money and using cell phones as a means of payment.
The BSP handout stated that people with mobile phones far outnumber those with bank accounts and that mobile banking and electronic money are “an ideal access channel” for financial services in the country.
Ravalo said that only two out of 10 people have bank accounts and that 35 percent of the country’s municipalities have no banking institutions.
According to the BSP, there are 197,500 mobile banking users registered. Because devices can now be used to pay utility bills, purchase goods, send remittances and conduct banking transactions, they find that mobile banking reduces costs, travel time and risks.
The BSP sees this alternative financial service as an opportunity for financial inclusion, with some already using it for money transfers and remote bills and loans payment.
Of the 55 percent using these financial service providers, 76 percent are considered poor while 19 percent are considered very poor. Of the 72 percent who made payments last month, 33 percent sent money transfers, 16 percent paid loans and 55 percent paid bills.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 11, 2012.