MANILA – Financial inclusion advocates from APEC member-economies are calling to make credit more accessible to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Asia-Pacific region.
The delegates said countries in the region can do a lot more to improve SME financing.
"Financial inclusion is vital in achieving the goal of enhancing inclusivity of growth of economies. If we help SMEs become more productive, such as by easing accessibility of financing, we help our economies generate more jobs and boost incomes," Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said.
The Philippines has vowed to continue moving the agenda of financial inclusion forward. Outstanding microfinance loans in the country had consistently grown over the years, reaching P9.4 billion as of end-September 2014 from P2.6 billion in 2002.
Microfinance borrowers in the Philippines had also grown to nearly 1.16 million from about 390,000 in the same period, while the number of banks with microfinance units had increased from 119 to 183.
At the 2015 Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion in Tagaytay City, delegates were given the chance to tackle the need to make credit data accessible to lenders in order to give SMEs a better chance of getting financing.
They also discussed means to ensure security of information and credit transactions to build confidence of the public on credit information systems.
A centralized credit information system will be in operation in the Philippines soon. According to Credit Information Corp., sharing of information through the system will begin by the end 2015, while most of the relevant credit data will be available through the system by 2016.