MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday said more cities and municipalities now have access to formal financial services.
In its latest Report on the State of Financial Inclusion in the Philippines, the number of unbanked cities and municipalities in country improved to 571 in 2017 from 609 in 2011, or 38 percent lower, the central bank said in a statement.
In total, only 34.9 percent of 1,634 local government units (LGUs) nationwide remain unbanked as of June last year.
During the 6-year period, the number of banks grew by an average of 4 percent to 11,343 while automated teller machines (ATMs) also grew 12 percent to 19,500, the BSP said.
A total of 61,000 non-bank financial providers nationwide bring financial services to unbanked areas, the BSP said. These include mobile money agents (where people can convert cash to electronic money), pawnshops, cooperatives and microfinance non-government organization (NGOs).
"Only one percent of LGUs remained unserved if non-bank financial service providers were taken into account," the BSP said.
Meanwhile, the total amount of deposits also grew at an average of 15 percent to P11 trillion as of June last year from 2012, with the number of depositors growing 6 percent to 44.4 million and deposit accounts rising 4 percent to 55.3 million.
Despite the improvements, the number of deposit accounts per 10,000 adults in the Philippines remains lower than most ASEAN members, the BSP said.
The BSP issued regulations allowing banks to put up “branch-lite” units to further expand physical reach to underserved LGUs.