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BSP forms fintech unit

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BSP

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has formed a new unit to oversee financial technology (fintech) companies, as the regulator keeps up with increased digital payments.

BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. said the central bank last month established the new unit alongside another office for cybersecurity under the Financial Supervision Sector.

Mr. Espenilla said during a conference on payments and settlements on Friday that the Financial Technology Sub-Sector (FTSS) will “conduct the effective oversight of fintech and other innovative alternatives.”

Vicente T. De Villa III, officer-in-charge of the FTSS, said the unit was formed last month. It will handle two offices: the Payments and Settlements Oversight Department and the Core Information Technology Specialist Group.

“We are still overseeing banks, but banks and technology nowadays have to come hand-in-hand… There’s an outsourcing that takes place and we have to make sure that these outsourcing services are governed by our rules and regulations,” Mr. De Villa told reporters.

Most banks have embraced digital solutions by partnering with fintech companies, which are often technology firms that provide e-payment platforms.

The BSP has been upbeat about migrating to digital transactions, viewing it as the most efficient way to get more Filipinos aboard formal financial channels as majority remain unbanked.

The BSP said digitizing payment and remittance transactions would be crucial for financial inclusion, as this move would improve access and transaction costs.

The central bank has also organized a unit for cybersecurity, which is tasked to monitor compliance among financial firms as well as guard against cyber attacks and glitches.

The BSP has committed to embrace digital solutions by welcoming fintech players, with the goal of raising the share of e-payments to 20% of total transactions by the year 2020.

The FTSS will also oversee implementation of the National Retail Payment System, which includes creation of two clearing houses for e-payments and digital fund transfers. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez