Only 2 of 10 Bicolanos are bank depositors—BSP survey

Only about two of 10 heads of Bicolano households have bank accounts because most do not have enough money to deposit, according to a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Based on the 2014 Consumer Finance Survey (CFS), only 13.3 percent of households in the Bicol region have savings accounts.

“This means that only a small percentage of Bicolanos and Filipinos in general has deposit or savings accounts. Only 14 percent or two in ten households nationwide have bank accounts. A bigger number of households in the NCR have deposit accounts compared to those outside NCR including the Bicol region,” BSP Department of Economic Statistics deputy director Teresita B. Deveza said.

Almost all of the respondents in the region cited not having enough money as the reason for not having a bank account.

Other respondents said the bank or institution location is too far while others revealed they can’t manage an account. A small percentage said they don’t need a bank/cash account.

Deveza, together with BSP Legazpi deputy director Marlyn J. Paje, presented the CFS results.

The monetary officials said the results of the survey would serve as basis for policy implications and recommendations.

“The state of household finances has a very significant role in the country’s economy inasmuch as 70 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) is accounted for by house final consumption expenditure (HFCE),” Paje said.

The CFS is the only survey in the Philippines that provides and generates comprehensive information on the financial condition of Filipino households, particularly their income and wealth comprising of financial and non-financial assets as well as their saving, borrowing and investment behavior and preferences.

The survey revealed that the portfolio of households in the country is comprised mostly of non-financial assets commonly consisted of home appliances, their own residence and motor vehicles.

In terms of financial assets, only 14 percent of households have deposit accounts and a very small percentage owned securities and investment products.

“These findings seem to indicate that households paid more attention to acquiring non-financial assets rather than financial assets. This could be due to low interest rate environment in 2014, which recorded an all-time low savings deposit average of 0.63% and average bank lending rate of 5.53 percent,” Paje said.

She noted these findings as valuable inputs to monetary policy decisions as this could affect monetary and financial stability in terms of higher inflation or increased credit risk.

On the other hand, Deveza stressed the need to strengthen financial inclusion efforts and advocacies by both government and private sector.

“We need to implement structural changes to strengthen financial inclusion. Government owned bank for instance can offer no-maintenance accounts or they can open a bank account for 4Ps beneficiaries instead of cash accounts only. That would mean more Filipinos who can maximize their financial assets,” she said.

Savings account, Deveza noted, can be used not only for savings but for earning opportunities as well.

“Savings can be opportunities to earn more. We have online business now that requires deposit accounts for payment and other financial transactions. Building wealth can likewise be done through savings and investments,” she said. (by Sally Atento-Altea)