11 million RP households do not have bank accounts

About two-thirds of Philippine households do not have a bank account, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Amando M. Tetangco Jr., saying this translates to an estimated 11 million households that remain untapped by the banking system.

According to BSP chief, only about a third of Philippine households maintain a bank account. “This was why it is important to ensure that Filipinos have confidence in the banking system and in rural banks in particular, and that the industry continues to grow and strengthen.”

Tetangco spoke to reporters at the sidelines of the 57th Annual Convention and Corporate Meeting of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) Tuesday.

At a time when the global financial system was in a downturn, the country’s rural banks posted a growing asset base of P157.4 billion in 2009. The amount was nearly 8 percent higher than a year earlier when the industry’s asset base totaled P146 billion, Tetangco, said.

In that same period, Tetangco said the rural banks’ loan portfolio stood above P98 billion and deposits of over P105 billion.

“By any measure, these are respectable figures posted at a time when the global financial crisis triggered the most serious world recession since World War II,” Tetangco said.

According to him, the expanding numbers indicate that rural banks in general “are indeed ready to take on a more strategic and competitive place in the Philippine financial system.”

As frontline lenders in the countryside, he said rural banks have since become responsible and dependable financial service providers of simple savings and time deposit products.

They have also evolved into efficient platforms for paying bills, obtaining insurance, dispensing microfinance loans or just having a safe way to send and receive money, Tetangco said.

“Through rural banks, we expect that more unserved and underserved Filipinos will gain access to responsible and dependable financial services,” he told reporters.

As a result, the BSP continues to find ways to strengthen consumer confidence, not just on rural banks but the entire banking system, he said.

He expressed confidence the untapped masses who still do not have bank accounts will do so in the near future given enough information, attention, incentive, and protection. — GMANews.TV

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