By Bjorn Biel M. Beltan, Special Features and Content Assistant Editor

In a significant move towards enhancing productivity and fostering inclusivity in the Philippine banking sector, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Bankers Institute of the Philippines, Inc. (BAIPHIL) recently formalized their long-standing partnership through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on December 18, 2023 at the BSP’s head office in Manila.

“The collaboration of BSP and BAIPHIL will go a long way in reaching out to our common stakeholders by providing support to banks toward productivity enhancement through research, information exchange, and education,” BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said.

The collaboration aims to enhance productivity among banks through various initiatives including research, information exchange, and education. One of the key aspects of which involves joint efforts to develop capacity-building sessions for bank employees, officers, and directors, in a bid to foster continuous professional development within the banking sector.

The MoU will also facilitate the sharing of non-confidential subject matter experts and research materials, enabling both entities to leverage each other’s expertise and resources for mutual benefit.

Racquel B. Mañago, president of BAIPHIL, underscored the significance of the MoU, emphasizing that it “commits us to work together more closely toward our common goal of professional development for banking professionals, financial literacy, and financial inclusion for the underserved and unbanked.”

This commitment aligns with their overarching goal of promoting a more inclusive and resilient financial ecosystem in the Philippines, which the organization has been pursuing as part of its theme for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024, “Bridging the Digital Gap in Financial Services.”

The Philippines, like many other countries, faces significant digital gaps that hinder financial inclusivity and access to digital services for underserved communities. The digital divide in the Philippines is characterized by disparities in internet access, digital literacy, and the adoption of digital financial services among different segments of the population.

“Though it’s true that the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of the country, the pandemic made it more pronounced, more obvious, this big gap. For many students, they may not be able to complete assignments because they do not have computers or access to the internet. For employees, they may not be able to work remotely due to connectivity issues; they may not have access to information on job opportunities. For many seniors, they cannot access online medical consultations because of this digital divide reinforcing socioeconomic inequality,” Ms. Mañago had said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“The goal is to close that gap, or at least minimize the gap or divide. The ultimate goal is for digital financial inclusion, which is possible when we bring technology and digital know-how to everyone so that no one is left behind.”

At the beginning of this fiscal year, BAIPHIL embarked on a project to close the digital gap where it raised funds for a computer and printer bundled with 6-months free Wi-Fi for deserving schools nationwide. BAIPHIL extends its gratitude to six (6) banks who responded generously to our appeal; namely: AUB, BDO, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, SBTC and Uno Digital Bank. Equicom Savings Bank likewise donated cash to supplement this project. To date, computer bundle sets have have been turned-over to the following beneficiaries: Labney Integrated School in Mayantoc, Tarlac, Lasala Integrated School in Siargao Island, Barangay Caub in del Carmen, Surigao, Makabata School Foundation Pasig, Mapita Integrated School in Aguilar, Pangasinan, Suit Island School in Dagupan, Pangasinan and Pulung Bulu Integrated School, San Fernando, Pampanga. BAIPHIL hopes to donate computer bundle sets to more schools.

The partnership between BSP and BAIPHIL will serve to push this initiative beyond internal capacity-building to encompass the advocacies for digital finance, financial literacy, financial inclusion, sustainable finance, legislative initiatives, and other reforms that are already in place.

BAIPHIL has launched various financial literacy programs in partnership with the BSP in the past to educate parents of elementary school children and their teachers about financial literacy. BAIPHIL has also partnered with organizations like Rags2Riches, Inc. to train artisans who are mostly women from Payatas and promote financial inclusion all over the country.

Members of local government units and senior citizens are also welcome to participate in BAIPHIL’s financial literacy programs. In addition to traditional financial education, the organization intends to provide digital financial literacy programs to help the Filipino people better understand and make use of various digital tools and resources.

Ms. Mañago said that the MoU will bring both organizations together in close talks to discuss ways to align their goals in such initiatives, while continuing to promote excellence in the banking industry moving forward.

One such event focused on the continuous professional development of the banking sector was the recently-concluded “Live2Lead: BAIPHIL” leadership event, which aimed to equip potential leaders or young professionals currently performing leadership roles in the industry with new perspectives, practical tools, and key takeaways that will allow them grow and learn as leaders.

The event involved a mix of a public replay of leadership talks from world-renowned leadership experts and fireside chats with three local leaders respected in the banking industry such as former BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla, former BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo, and BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier.

Ms. Mañago emphasized that BAIPHIL is very conscious of the participation and engagement metrics of training and events, as they use them to quantify and monitor progress and completion of business plans.

“We’re very conscious about the metrics and because this will tell us, ‘Are we achieving our targets, or do we need to re-strategize?’” she said.

As of March 1, 2024, BAIPHIL has offered a total of 73 training programs participated in by almost 3,000 trainees and 8 events with 3,439 participants.

“I’m really grateful that we have signed the MoU with BSP. I think that’s good leverage to take in more members. In partnership with the BSP, I feel like we can do so much more to support the digital initiative. One year is not enough, unfortunately, but hopefully we will keep going.”

Ms. Mañago hopes that through BAIPHIL’s efforts it will maintain its momentum of growth in terms of reach, to be able to engage with as many people, build partnerships and reach as many bankers, schools, and communities as they can.

She said that BAIPHIL recognizes that collaboration is essential in bridging the digital gap and including more Filipinos to enjoy the benefits of economic development. The organization actively engages with various stakeholders, including government agencies, financial institutions, and technology providers, to foster a collaborative environment.

“It’s an ongoing process. And with the help of everybody, I think we can achieve so, so much more,” Ms. Mañago said.

Established in 1941 as a non-stock, non-profit corporation, the Bankers Institute of the Philippines, Inc. (BAIPHIL) primarily aims to improve and standardize banking accounting, auditing, and operations nationwide.

From its humble beginnings as an association of mostly auditors and accountants, the Institute has blossomed into a prominent and esteemed organization for bankers. A total of 70 financial institutions and related groups have since joined the organization, representing a wide range of banking practices and services.

At present, it counts over 250 distinguished bankers and other professionals including well-known CEOs among its associates, all of whom make significant contributions to the organization’s various projects.

In its eight decades of operation, the institute has never wavered from its mission to aid financial institutions in raising productivity via research, knowledge sharing, and educational initiatives.

This article is in the special edition of BusinessWorld In-Depth digital magazine on BAIPHIL Training and Development Week and 83rd Anniversary. Get the full issue for FREE via BWorldX. Visit


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