BSP updates FI strategy

Published November 28, 2021, 10:10 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it has “refreshed” its six-year old National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) to make it more relevant and modified to reflect the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and increased digitalization of financial services.

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“As the landscape has evolved, so must the strategy,” said BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno on Saturday, Nov. 27. “This impetus compels us to revisit the original strategy document and ensure that the NSFI remains a responsive framework for driving financial inclusion as a whole-of nation undertaking,” he added.

The NSFI was first introduced in July 2015 and the latest national survey on FI as official report was as of 2019. The BSP updates the FI numbers on its website per quarter and the latest was fourth quarter 2020.

The BSP will launch an updated version of the current NSFI in January, 2022.

The BSP-chaired Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) which is an interagency body in-charge of the NSFI, has agreed last Nov. 9 to update the revise and update the NSFI.

The objective of the NSFI is to encourage and promote public-private coordination and the harmonization of policies and programs on financial inclusion. Through the FISC, an inclusive financial system was laid down beginning in 2015.

Diokno said that “much work remains to be done to make formal financial services accessible to all” and that the pandemic “and the rapid advancement of digital technology are bringing new possibilities as well as challenges in the pursuit of financial inclusion.”

The updated NSFI will cover a six-year timeframe from 2022 to 2028, with strategies translated into priority initiatives, key performance indicators, and targets, said the BSP in a statement. “This marks a departure from the current NSFI which provides the guiding principles for promoting financial inclusion but has no timeframe and targets,” it added.

The BSP and the Asian Development Bank have ongoing consultation workshops and are actively soliciting feedback from the banking and other sectors to update the NSFI.

In the recent “Financial Education Expo” hosted by the BSP, Diokno said that because of the pandemic, the financial behavior of Filipinos have changed.

“Some for the better (and) they are prioritizing saving, availing health and life insurance, and preparing for retirement to provide better financial opportunities for themselves and their families during and beyond the pandemic,” he said. This was one of the updated information that the national FI survey aims to capture.

 
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