When we were kids, we were taught all sorts of knowledge in school. Some of them were practical, some of them weren’t. As we grew up, it became apparent that there are several practical things we weren’t taught — and one of them was financial literacy.
This may be the primary reason why 7 out of 10 Filipinos are still keeping their hard-earned savings at home (probably in a pillowcase). Another reason may be the excessive requirements needed to open a bank account, for those who realize the importance of keeping their money in a safer place. Given steep account opening and maintenance fees, a myriad of documentary requirements, and the possibility of having to commute just to get to the nearest bank, it’s no wonder why there are so many Filipinos who remain unbanked.
This is what Cebuana Lhuillier strives to change, with its recently launched “#KayaNa: Unbanked Filipinos No More Movement”. The campaign coincided with the introduction of the Cebuana’s Micro Savings, a financial program that aims to make banking easier and more accessible. The event also marked Cebuana Lhuillier’s first foray into becoming more than just a microfinance company, but a “center for financial wellness”.
The Case for Banking
Primarily, banks are made to secure one’s savings. But a bank account is just the first step in effective and productive money-management. A bank account opens the door to many possibilities, from hassle-free transactions (think online payments, cash-free shopping) to creating a sidestream of income (think investments). A savings account also serves as one of the basis for granting credit, by banks and other loan institutions.
With this in mind, Cebuana Lhuillier has made the possibilities of banking more accessible to more people. With Micro Savings, Cebuana leverages its 2,500 strong branches to create a network of financial inclusion. This is a massive leap, considering only 33% of the country’s municipalities are covered by services from the big-name banks.
Easy, in all ways
Aside from the proximity of Cebuana’s branches to central community locations, they have also made the process of account opening as painless as possible. Imagine — all you have to do is go to your nearest branch, bring PHP 50 (your opening deposit), and one valid ID. Minutes later, you’re set with a Micro Savings account! From now on, you can withdraw and deposit at any convenient time. What’s more, you’re free from the shackles of dormancy charges and maintaining balances!
What’s more, the Micro Savings program is just one step in Cebuana’s continued thrust towards helping Filipinos obtain financial freedom. With even more financial options in the pipeline, Cebuana hopes to become an “enabler for a better future”.
A Step in the Right Direction
I personally know how hard it can be to convince people to bank. I’ve tried this with my parents, and with some of our employees. The initial deposit and all the papers that needed to be signed were significant hurdles. The fact that we have a veritable financial institution taking notice of this, and going great lengths to remove these roadblocks, speaks of a more inclusive financial future for more Filipinos.
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