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Monday, September 16, 2019
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RCBC Eyes Bringing Banking Services To Sari-sari Stores

REACHING out to small communities. Eugene Acevedo, president of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., says they plan to reach out to the unbanked population through the sari-sari stores. (Sunstar File)

AS THE country’s economy continues to be fueled by small and medium business, the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) targets to bring banking to sari-sari stores where clients can deposit and withdraw money anytime.

RCBC president Eugene Acevedo said they plan to penetrate the country’s unbanked population through every neighborhood’s sari-sari stores.

“There are 42,000 barangays and 1,400 towns in the country. If every sari-sari store is tapped, customers will be able to open an account, deposit and withdraw money,” he said.

On Friday, July 12, 2019, RCBC led the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing with key private and non-government organizations to push “DiskarTech,” the country’s first financial inclusion accelerator program anchored on harnessing Filipinos’ entrepreneurial spirit, the bank said in its official Facebook page.

“We are dealing with the organization of sari-sari stores, local government units (LGUs) and cooperatives. Our ambition is to reach 65 million Filipinos through these partnerships to access banking services, which can mean that we can be the settlement account of their organization,” he said, adding that this would make sari-sari store owners easily part of an organization.

“The key thing is to identify partners that know how to use the app, and the second thing is to identify a sari-sari store that has enough velocity of cash,” he said.

Partnerships

RCBC forged partnerships with the Liga ng mga Barangay, League of Municipalities, League of Provinces and Ka-Entrep Micro and Small Entrepreneurs Organization of the Philippines.

Moreover, Acevedo said RCBC is partnering with cooperatives and sari-sari stores to provide basic banking needs to clients.

“We give an app to a sari-sari store and they can do banking for us. They can behave like a bank and work like a branch. For example, somebody comes in and wants to open an account, the sari-sari store can do that and it’s called agency banking,” he said.

Acevedo said RCBC is targeting to implement the program before the end of the year.

Financial inclusion

In February 2019, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is optimistic that significant improvements in financial inclusion will be achieved in light of recent regulations that are expected to boost account ownership and acceptance of digital payments.

These are the innovations made under the National Retail Payment System; the basic deposit account framework, which meets the need of the unbanked for a low-cost, no-frills deposit account which they can open even without standard identification documents; and the branch-lite regulation, which gives banks the flexibility to determine the appropriate size and model of a banking office for a specific area or locality based on market needs.

The BSP stated this in its report on the “State of Financial Inclusion in the Philippines 2017” which discussed milestones and trends in financial inclusion in the country.

With the continuous growth of banking offices nationwide, the number of unbanked local government units declined to 554 (33.9 percent of the total) in 2017 from 582 (35.6 percent) in 2016, representing a 1.7 percentage point decrease in unbanked areas.

The report also noted that the number of deposit accounts in the country increased by 6.8 percent from 53.5 million in 2016 to 57.1 million in 2017.

As of June 2018, 155 banks (out of 581 head offices) have tapped 1,751 branch-lite units to expand physical outreach in 738 LGUs, of which 151 were being served by branch-lite alone. JOB with KOC


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