The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) noted that the savings of microfinance clients served by banks have exceeded their loans for the first time. Based on month-end March report, savings of more than 1 million microfinance clients served by 186 banks has already reached P8.2 billion, exceeding the outstanding loan portfolio of P8 billion. This is a 93% increase over the same period in 2012 and an increase of over 362% from the level five years ago of just P1.78 billion. This is a testimony that the entrepreneurial poor are capable of saving and is contrary to the customary belief that the poor do not save.
The Consumer Finance Survey conducted by the BSP in 2009 shows that 8 out of 10 Filipino households do not have a deposit account with 93% percent of them citing that they do not have enough money to open bank deposits as their primary reason. As we celebrate “National Savings Consciousness Week” it is noteworthy to highlight that this recent development in the savings portfolio of the entrepreneurial poor shows that having appropriately designed and priced products can indeed drive usage. The numbers support this claim with the microfinance portfolio increasing to P8 billion as of March 2013 from P2.6 billion in 2002. With the available products, Filipino microentrepreneurs are increasingly taking out loans for productive activities and are actively saving.
The BSP is committed to continuously provide the policy and regulatory framework that encourage banks to deliver financial products and services that are accessible to all Filipinos. These include policies on microfinance, microdeposits and microinsurance, among others. Savings play an important role in this as it helps people set-aside money that can be used for future needs, like education, hospitalization and emergency situations. It also enables people seize economic opportunities. All these are part of a broader advocacy to make our financial system truly inclusive, where there is effective access and usage of financial products and services for all.