THE SHARE of Filipinos with bank accounts reached 65% of the adult population in 2022, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) chief said on Tuesday.
“The share of digital payment transactions reached 42% in 2022; account ownership was 56% in 2021; and 65% of households had accounts in 2022,” BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said in his opening speech during the BSP’s Digital Financial Inclusion Awards.
“Yes, we are gaining ground, but there is still so much more that we can do,” he added.
Under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, the BSP aims to digitize 50% of total retail transactions and onboard at least 70% of Filipino adults to the financial system by the end of this year.
In 2022, the share of digital payments in total retail transactions increased to 42.1% from 30.3% in 2021.
Meanwhile, results of the BSP’s 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey showed that the banked population was at about 56% of all adults in 2021, up from just 29% in 2019. This is about 22 million Filipinos who have gained access to formal financial accounts between 2019 and 2021.
The increase was driven by the accelerated growth in digital payments, the central bank earlier said. Among the banked population, 36% had electronic money accounts in 2021, up from the 8% share in 2019.
According to Mr. Remolona, the central bank supports and promotes microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microentrepreneurs who successfully adopted digitalization to boost efficiencies and scale up customer services.
On Tuesday, the BSP recognized twenty MFIs and micro firms for their achievements in digitalization during the Digital Financial Inclusions Awards (DFIA).
Citi Philippines Chief Executive Officer and Country Head Paul A. Favila said the digital revolution is transforming the finance industry and is pushing the microfinance sector to adapt.
“To foster sustainable financial inclusion, the microfinance community will need to embrace new technologies and reconsider their business models,” Mr. Favila said.
Mr. Favila said that MFIs have an advantage as they know their clients very well in the regions where they operate.
“With the use of new digital technology and the ability to rely on their expertise, there is a future where microfinance institution services can be both high tech and high touch. DFIA was developed to encourage and support microfinance institutions and microentrepreneurs to leverage digitalization as a means to grow and enhance their customer base, their sales volume and their profitability,” he said.
The DFIA is a financial inclusion program funded by Citi Foundation, in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. and supported by the BSP. — Keisha B. Ta-asan