June 23, 2024

The country’s banking system continues to show resiliency as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas hit its target for digital payments in 2021.

“We achieved in 2021 the target of a 20 percent increase in digital payments that was set in 2015,” said Noel Neil Malimban, BSP Northern Luzon regional director.

Amid restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the use of digital platforms accelerated as people decided to open digital accounts.

Malimban said the BSP’s goal of financial inclusion was not only limited to encouraging every Filipino to open and have an account with a banking institution but also convincing them to open an account on digital platforms.

In 2021, he said the number of banks that operate in the Cordillera increased from 200 to 202 with the opening of two rural banks in Ifugao.

The opening of banks or branches of a bank proved that the economy is moving forward and that the people are giving their trust in the banking system.

“When banks open, the economy is good because a bank is an intermediary. Iniipon ng mga tao ang pera through deposits at ‘yung mga nangangailangan na umutang sa kanila ay umuutang kasi uutang ka dahil magi-invest ka. Mga businessmen, uutang. Ang mga tao, uutang sa bangko dahil may pagkakagastusan sila,” Malimban said.

The digital financial platforms are also drivers of the economy, he added.

He said money circulating through different channels is good for the economy.

“The economy becomes okay when people spend. Based on the latest data which is the end of September 2021, we continue to see overall credit conditions providing ample support to economic activity as bank lending in Cordillera grew by 8.1 percent. Loan portfolio of banks was recorded at P20.2 billion from P18.7B in the same period a year ago,” he said.

Based on the economic performance report of the Philippine Statistics Authority released last week, the Cordillera posted a 7.5 percent growth in its Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP).

Banking, which is part of the service sector and among the 15 indicators of the GRDP, has shown a positive growth of 7.6 percent in 2021.

Financial activities are 11.9 percent of the GRDP, which is the third contributor to the region’s economy. – PNA