THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) encouraged rural banks to use technology not only to maintain their competitiveness, but also to expand financial inclusion in the countryside.

As of end-June, there are 3,139 rural banks nationwide that serve micro, small and medium enterprises, agricultural, and other vulnerable sectors.

During the 64th Charter Anniversary symposium of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP), BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno encouraged rural banks to increase participation in the National Retail Payment System (NRPS).

The NRPS envisions that every Filipino will have easy access to financial services, as well as own accounts to make payments, and receive or transfer funds from any digital device.

A key NRPS initiative is the establishment of PESONet and InstaPay payment rails which allow fund transfers among account holders from different banks.

However, there are only 21 rural banks offering PESONet and 11 offering InstaPay electronic fund transfer services.

“We urge the members of RBAP to make use of these technologies to expand your reach and maintain competitiveness in the new economy,” Diokno said.

“Together, we have supported the low-income and unbanked segments by improving their access to formal financial channels and by filling in the gap in financial services to address the needs of the neglected segment,” he added. (PR)