Only 41 in 100,000 Pinoys own a bank account

The government will focus on expanding access to financial services, a Cabinet official said, noting that only 41 out of every 100,000 Filipinos own a bank deposit account.

The number of Pinoy banking clients is still far behind the target of 750 out of 100,000 by 2016, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement Monday.

"To further expand client reach in the countryside, market participants and regulators alike have to innovate and foster strategic partnerships," Balisacan added.

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The Cabinet official was citing data from the National Economic and Development Authority's (NEDA) Socioeconomic Report 2010-2012, which he said showed big strides towards medium-term goals.

"In fact, some of the major targets that were planned to be attained in 2016 had already been achieved before the end of 2012," Balisacan said.

The targetted six bank offices per city or municipality has been achieved and is still expanding, he noted.

"The amount of microfinance services, already at P7.6 billion, is above the 2016 target," Balisacan said further.

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Aside from a robust banking system, the NEDA report also showed strong asset growth in the country's cooperatives.

There were 7,565 new cooperatives established in 2011 alone, NEDA said, leading to a total of 20,792 cooperatives by end-2011.

The financial sector's strong growth can be highly credited to the sustained implementation of reforms, Balisacan said.

This, as he stressed that the government will be "more aggressive in expanding access by Filipinos to these services in succeeding years."

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