Financial Inclusion: Empowering Filipinos For A Sustainable Economy
Giving more Filipinos greater access to financial services is key to BDO Unibank’s sustainability efforts.
When people have access to bank accounts and loans, they are empowered to build their emergency funds, take part in e-commerce, make decisions to expand their businesses, and secure their future for the eventuality of retirement. These activities enable equal access to economic and social opportunities.
“It is crucial for Filipinos to understand the value of saving in a bank and choosing prudent investment instruments,” said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.
The BDO Foundation (BDOF), the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO, implemented financial education programs in partnership with the BSP, the Department of Education (DepEd), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Civil Service Commission (CSC), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Through the partnership, financial education programs were put in place to public school students, teachers and non-teaching personnel; Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their beneficiaries; civil servants; and uniformed and civilian personnel of the armed forces.
Integrating financial education across sectors
BDOF has ensured that financial education is included in the lessons of students from Kinder to Grade 12 level and in the regular training programs for teachers and non-teaching personnel. In partnership with BSP and DepEd, BDOF developed learning materials that consist of 10 educational videos, with lesson guides on topics such as saving, budgeting, and entrepreneurship, among others. BSP and BDOF also helped DepEd formulate its Financial Education Policy and Roadmap which DepEd secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones issued through a DepEd Order in 2021.
Training materials were likewise created for OFWs and their families, the military and civil servants, which are now part of the regular training programs of the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), respectively.
These financial literacy training programs include the development of training resources and modules, and the training of in-house trainers. Even amid the pandemic, implementation of financial education lessons continued through the use of online platforms.
“True to our ‘We Find Ways’ philosophy, we continue to do our part to serve our clients, our communities, and the nation in the most efficient way possible as we recover from this global pandemic,” noted Mario Deriquito, president of BDOF.
BDOF’s collaboration with the National University (NU) and the SM Foundation also extended financial literacy to the underserved communities in the agriculture sector. Through the specially designed learning materials, farmers and fisherfolk can learn the basics of accounting and bookkeeping, even budgeting and financial planning.
Deriquito added that these partnerships will further advance financial literacy and inclusion in the country, as it provides local farmers the opportunity to grow their business and alleviate themselves from poverty.
Financial lessons for OFWs
The continued partnership with OWWA enabled BDO to provide financial lessons to OFWs even during the pandemic. As deployment of OFWs continued in 2020, BDO, through BDO Remit, remained committed in financially educating OFWs through Pre-departure Orientation Seminar(PDOS).
OFWs learn about the importance of having bank accounts, and how it can help them and their beneficiaries. Having an account is essential not just for saving and investing, but also for payment and remittance transactions.
In 2021, BDO is the only non-government owned bank that provides complete learning facilities via webinar to OWWA, with fully equipped training rooms and enhanced internet provision.
As of November 2021, about 159,500 OFWs benefitted from 3,441 financial literacy lessons conducted through online webinars.
Taking financial inclusion to communities
BDO continues to expand its reach to promote financial inclusion to the underserved communities through BDO Network Bank (BDONB). With over 347 branches and loan offices, BDONB, the community bank of BDO, brings relevant products and services to the underserved communities.
Through the Kabuhayan Loan, thousands of micro-SMEs (MSMEs), including women-led businesses, have benefitted from the loan amount ranging from P 30,000 to P1 million. The extra funding enabled micro-entrepreneurs to grow their business by either increasing their inventory of stocks, buying the needed equipment or expanding their business with another branch.
BDO’s continued partnership with government agencies scales and strengthens its financial inclusion activities nationwide and across key sectors of society. The Bank ensures that its diverse products and services meet the financial needs of its communities, enabling them access to opportunities that contributes in achieving a sustainable national economy.