The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas established a Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy (CLIA) to ensure that the financial system caters to all market segments and that financial consumers are adequately informed and protected. The CLIA is under the Office of the Governor which clearly demonstrates BSP’s serious commitment to financial inclusion and recognizes its strategic complementarity with BSP’s primary mandates.
The CLIA will work on creating a policy and regulatory environment that enables the private sector to deliver innovative and responsive financial products and services in a safe, sound and sustainable manner; ensuring that financial consumers acquire the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and are able to enjoy the full benefits of their financial access; and building effective partnerships and public-private sector cooperation toward broad based and inclusive growth through the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion.
The BSP has long been recognized as a thought leader for financial inclusion. The yearly Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has noted the Philippines as a global leader for financial inclusion from its maiden report in 2009 to its most recent in 2016, and has consistently cited the important contributions of the BSP in this achievement. In 2007, the BSP was one of the first central banks in the world to establish a unit dedicated to financial inclusion. Today, 47 countries implementing a national strategy have a financial inclusion unit or coordinating body leading its implementation.
The results of these efforts have been evident in the number of small businesses and individuals now enjoying formal financial services. Nearly 2 million microenterprises who previously relied on informal lenders are now enjoying a range of financial services from banks. In 2017, the World Bank Findex, a global cross-country survey on financial inclusion, showed that 34.5% of Filipino adults have a formal account which is an increase from 26.6% in 2011 when the baseline survey was conducted. Innovations in digital financial services are also positioning to reach unserved and underserved sectors with about three-fourths of fintechs positioned for financial inclusion.
The CLIA aims to build on this momentum and, through its more consolidated approach, solidify and scale these gains. It will work toward a basic and concrete objective for all Filipinos to have an account in a formal financial institution, as a cornerstone of their relationship with the formal financial system. Targeted efforts will also be undertaken to focus on strategic sectors like the agriculture and MSME sectors as well as in efforts that promise greater reach such as digital channels and financial technology.