Grameen Foundation and ideas42 Launch Partnership to Expand Financial Inclusion in the Philippines
Grameen Foundation and ideas42 yesterday launched a new partnership to support financial inclusion in the Philippines using principles from behavioral science and innovations in digital financial services using mobile phones. The initiative, funded by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, aims to reach thousands of people identified in the low-income bracket throughout the country.
The launch event, held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) main office in Manila, brought together key stakeholders, policy and decision-makers from the BSP, microfinance organizations, and related government and nongovernment agencies to explore challenges in expanding financial inclusion in the Philippines.
The initiative aligns with the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion launched in 2015 and builds on the success of previous programs designed to address the problems of access to and continued usage of financial products using principles from behavioral science. With research indicating that only 43 percent of adults in the Philippines have formal savings accounts, and even fewer have access to the means necessary to make regular payments, consumers encounter multiple bottlenecks preventing them from successfully following through on their intentions to open and use savings accounts and other beneficial financial services.
Roberto L. Panlilio, Managing Director and Senior Country Officer at JPMorgan Chase commented, “We remain committed to the country and invested in programs aimed at expanding access to opportunity and shared economic prosperity for all Filipinos. Working closely with our strategic nonprofit partners and with the support of key government institutions, we look to creating scalable solutions to address the country’s most pressing needs and to boost economic growth efforts.”
Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr., Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas commented at the event, “If the intention is to cater to unserved and underserved markets, a deeper understanding of their needs, behavior and capacities is necessary. Indeed, clients will only access and use financial services that truly address their needs. This is the reason why we welcomed the opportunity to provide the venue for this important roundtable. This kind of evidence-based process is something that we strongly adhere to in the Bangko Sentral. Events such as this and interaction with like-minded players like yourselves will further enrich our perspectives and hopefully inform our actions moving forward.”
Through the partnership, ideas42 will draw upon years of expertise in designing behaviorally-informed solutions to improve financial product offerings and encourage people to open savings accounts. Grameen Foundation will spearhead the development of a network of mobile money agents based at sari-sari stores located across even the most remote islands.
Marina Dimova, Vice President at ideas42 commented: “ideas42 is proud to be a part of this new initiative that is bringing a deeper understanding of customers’ needs to the design of financial products. As access to financial services improves it becomes even more critical to ensure that highly beneficial products are actually used by consumers and businesses.”
Gigi Gatti, Grameen Foundation’s country director for the Philippines commented: “Currently the Philippines has only 75 access points for financial services for every 100,000 adults. By working with sari-sari store owners, partnering with microfinance organizations and using new products tailored to meet the needs of the poor we can open up financial access for millions of Filipinos living in hard-to-reach poor rural communities.”
Attendees at the event included: Microventures, Inc., Action.Able, Country Builders Bank, CARD Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, JPMorgan Chase, RBAP, E-Peso, Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc., Bridge, and Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation.