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October 07, 2022

Pandemic-induced mobility restrictions send economic transactions in the digital space into overdrive

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is confident of onboarding seven out of 10 Filipino adults in the banking system ahead of its 2023 target as strict pandemic-induced mobility restrictions continue to boost the digitalization of transactions.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said some 53 percent or 41 million Filipino adults have bank accounts as of the end of the third quarter last year from 29 percent in 2019.

This after 20 million accounts were opened between 2020 and the end of September last year.

“At the rate we are moving and with a strong push by the government and private sector, there is a strong likelihood that we’re going to meet our target to onboard 70 percent of adult Filipinos by 2023 sooner than later,” Diokno said.

A total 3.6 million new basic deposit accounts were opened from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2021, while active e-money accounts increased by 16.8 million between 2019 and 2020.

State-run Land Bank of the Philippines onboarded more than seven million unbanked Filipinos as part of the registration process for the national ID under Republic Act 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act (Philsys).

Under the recently launched National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) 2022-2028, there would be collective commitment from the government, private sector, and civil society to pursue a more financially included and empowered citizenry.

“The NSFI focuses on reducing disparities in financial inclusion; improving health and resilience; empowering consumers; and increasing access to finance of micro, small and medium enterprises, including startups, and the agriculture sector,” Diokno added.

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