Rural banks urged to use technology to stay competitive



MANILA – Rural banks should tap technology to remain competitive in the new normal and to help boost financial inclusion in the countryside, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Wednesday.

In a forum, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno urged rural banks to increase participation in the central bank’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS).

Electronic transfers InstaPay and PESONEt are part of the BSP’s NRPS launched to help accelerate digital payments in the country. 

The NRPS aims to give Filipinos easy access to financial services such as receiving and sending funds from a digital device, the BSP said.

As of end-June, there are 3,139 rural banks nationwide that cater to the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), agricultural and other vulnerable sectors, the BSP said. 

However, there are only 21 rural banks offering PESONet and 11 offering InstaPay, it said. 

“We urge the members of RBAP to make use of these technologies to expand your reach and maintain competitiveness in the New Economy,” Diokno said. 

“Together, we have supported the low-income and unbanked segments by improving their access to formal financial channels and by filling in the gap in financial services to address the needs of the neglected segment,” he added.

The BSP’s NRPS is seen to boost its digitalization roadmap which aims to digitize at least 50 percent of payments and encourage at least 70 percent of Filipinos to open bank accounts by 2023.

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