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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 23, 2014
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Micro finance in PH expands

MANILA -- The amount of money placed under cots, in coin banks, and ingenuous places like bamboo posts of houses had declined.

More people now have access to the formal banking system and place their savings in banks.

The government's efforts to widen the reach of its microfinance programs has benefited more people, particularly those in the rural areas.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that as of end-2013, the number of banks with microfinance operations went down to 182 from 187 in end-2012.

However, the number of institutions that are not necessarily banks but offer micro-deposit accounts went up.

In 2013, the number of banks that have micro-deposit products rose to 69 from year-ago's 58 banks.

Total number of micro-deposits last year expanded by 27 percent to P2.96 billion from 2012's P2.33 billion.

This after the number of deposits increased by 36 percent to 1.5 million from 1.1 million in 2012.

”The positive trend in the number and amount of micro-deposit accounts suggests increasing acceptance of the low income market for a deposit product that removes the usual barriers faced in opening a bank account such as high maintaining balance and dormancy issues.

The BSP defines microdeposits as the “savings accounts that cater to the needs of the basic sectors and low income individual.”

Last year, the central bank issued Circular 796 directing the increase in the average daily balance of micro-deposits to P40,000 from P15,000 previously.

”This responsive measure enhances the features of micro-deposits to further encourage the microfinance clients to build up their savings,” the BSP said in a report.

Relatively, total micro-finance loan portfolio during the same period rose by 35 percent to P8.7 billion from P8.4 billion in the previous year.

There were about 1.05 million microfinance borrowers in 2013 with outstanding loans amounting to P8.7 billion.

Aside from deposits and loans, the poor, which are the target-clients of the micro-finance programs, are also into protection products like micro-insurance.*PNA


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