In line with this year’s Savings Consciousness Week, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) called on Filipinos to save more even as the proportion of households with savings has increased in the first quarter of 2019.
According to BPI Family Savings Bank (BFSB) President Ma. Cristina Go, the recent quarterly survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released in March this year showed that the percentage of households with savings rose to 36.6 percent from 32.8 percent in the previous quarter.
“The report, however, also showed that those who could set aside 10 percent or more of their family’s gross monthly income dipped to 31.5 percent from 32.8 percent in the previous quarter,” she said.
“These numbers show there is a need to be more disciplined, more committed to saving more. Filipinos should work towards setting aside at least 30 percent of income for savings, and 70 percent for day-to-day expenses,” she added.
On the part of the BPI Group, of which BFSB is a member, she said seminars on financial management and investing are given to target audiences for free. These include overseas Filipinos and elementary and high school students.
“We are glad that more people realize the value of saving. What we want to encourage is saving for the future — having enough to set aside for important emergencies that they may have, or if they have aspirations,” said Go.
In 2018, BPI saw an eight percent increase in management of personal funds accounts such as Save-up, Jumpstart, and Maxi Saver, and 12 percent increase in the number of clients who opened value-beyond-savings accounts, which are types of savings accounts that offer insurances, such as Pamana Savings and Save-up with Insurance. The Bank also recorded over 198,000 new overseas Filipino customers.
According to Go, there are several factors that can affect the country’s savings rate—such as overall country economic performance, price distortions of basic necessities, human capital increase or labor employment, technology, financial literacy, and even government programs and regulations such as macroeconomic, banking, investment and regulatory policies, and strong civil service campaigns.
Reinforcing financial management education, making saving easy
“The first step to a full understanding of financial management is to have the basic knowledge of saving and how to spend within one’s means. We want people to develop the habit of saving, which is why we work hard to inform and educate as many Filipinos as we can, and come up with depositor-friendly products and services that will encourage people to start saving and eventually invest for their future,” Go said.
BPI’s campaign includes a program dubbed BPI Senior High School Acceleration Program (BPI SHAPE) under which teachers are trained on how to integrate the value of money, saving, and entrepreneurship in classroom discussions for public elementary and senior high school students.
The Bank has reached over 1,400 teachers and 141,600 students across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in 2018. The Bank also digitized the BPI SHAPE modules to better aid partner teachers and students. The modules are available through the Department of Education’s learning portal. Just this year, BPI SHAPE reached 60 additional schools.
The Bank also engages overseas Filipinos (OFs) through series of financial education seminars called BPI Financial Clinics and Money Talks, as well as one-on-one consultations globally that teach them how to save, invest, and secure their assets for their families’ future.
At the same time, BPI offers diverse deposit solutions such as the Maxi-Saver Savings Account, which offers a higher interest rate for a higher balance which is better than the rate for regular savings account, as well as a bonus interest of 0.50% if no withdrawal is done within the month. BPI also has Jumpstart, a savings account for children and teens aged 10- to 17-years-old so they can protect a portion of their funds from unplanned withdrawals, enable parents to transfer allowances easily, and provide for cellphone reloading at any BPI ATM. It requires only a minimum deposit of PHP 100. The Bank also offers Save-Up, a savings account with an automatic savings feature.
“People can trust that we will continue to roll out financial literacy programs and make saving easy for all – including the unbanked, the OFs, and the young,” Go said.