BSP, BDO to develop free personal finance course

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Thursday, May 25, that it has partnered with BDO Unibank Inc.’s BDO Foundation to develop and provide free online course on financial education (FinEd) next year.

This was not the first time that BDO has created FinEd learning modules with the BSP.

“This project is in line with the central bank’s thrust to promote broad, convenient, and informed access to high-quality financial services,” said BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla on Thursday.

The new modules, to be developed this year, will be uploaded to BSP’s e-learning platforms and accessible through mobile devices by early 2024, based on the signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between BSP and BDO Foundation.

The MOA covers a nine-module interactive online course on personal finance which will be called “FinEd e-Learning Course”.

BDO Foundation President Mario A. Deriquito said the online learning course will enhance the public’s financial literacy and financial health. “Through borderless learning, we will make FinEd on-demand and accessible to everyone—whether you are in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, or even abroad,” he added.

Based on BSP’s statement, the FinEd e-Learning Course will feature topics such as financial planning, saving and budgeting, debt and investment management, digital financial literacy, fraud and scam prevention, the Personal Equity and Retirement Account, and financial consumer protection.

“The course aims to expand the coverage and accelerate the implementation of FinEd programs in the country through free learning and teaching activities that can be accessed anytime, anywhere,” said the BSP.

It added that the objective is to “help cultivate a financially healthy and economically empowered Filipino citizenry that can actively contribute to nation-building.”

Based on the BSP’s Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS), six out of 10 Filipinos have changed their attitudes as financial consumers because of the pandemic which forced the majority to transact online or shift to digital payments.

The 2021 FIS noted that with the increased usage of online banking and digital payments, about 22 million Filipinos opened new financial accounts between 2019 and 2021. E-money accounts also grew.

Medalla has said that while these numbers are encouraging, they see gaps and risks to the financial literacy and financial health of consumers since while account ownership is increasing, the number of people with savings and insurance are not growing as much.

Amid issues of limited income and credit, the BSP is also alarmed that Filipinos’ financial knowledge remain poor as shown in financial literacy surveys.

Medalla said that when surveyed on basic financial literacy questions, only two in 10 Filipinos scored a 100 percent, while seven in 10 correctly answered at least half of the questions such as on inflation and purchasing power and compound interests.

The BSP survey mirrors a World Bank survey that said only 25 percent of adult Filipinos have basic knowledge of financial concepts.

For more than a decade though, the BSP has continued to develop financial literacy training programs with various government agencies such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, and Social Welfare and Development.

The BSP has also partnered with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to make financial literacy lessons mandatory for both students and teachers.