Cebuana Lhuillier launches microsavings account

MANILA Financial services firm Cebuana Lhuillier launched its microsavings account, aiming to provide more unbanked Filipinos access to banking services.

The Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings will give depositors a more convenient and affordable means to save their money, in line with the advocacy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to ensure financial inclusion in the country, the company said Thursday.

With BSP's basic deposit framework, Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings completes the full roster of our services, all designed and developed with financial inclusion in mind, Jean Henri Lhuillier, president and Chief Executive Officer of Cebuana Lhuillier, said during its financial inclusion forum held in Makati City.

We've come full circle from offering collateralized loans or pawning, remittance service, microinsurance and now, microsavings all of these products were designed with Filipinos from all walks of life in mind, especially the unbanked and underserved, who would not have access to these financial services given their circumstances in life, he added.

Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings is an interestbearing savings product owned by the Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank that allows clients to save up to PHP50,000 using the 24K Cebuana card.

Opening an account requires only one governmentissued ID and an initial minimum deposit of PHP50. Account holders may deposit and withdraw cash in any of the 2,500 branches nationwide.

Cebuana Lhuillier is likewise set to launch its eCebuana app, which allows microsavings users to check their balances and send money through remittance, as well as load prepaid credits to their phones and pay their bills by integrating it into their Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings account.

The company will also create its debit and credit facility for online and cashless shopping; provide access to auxiliary services; and help corporate and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) clients manage their business through payroll cash management solutions.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, said the emergence of modern technologies would enable Filipinos to gain more access to a wider range of financial services products.

There are various technologies, such as branchless banking, crowdsourcing, blockchain, among others, that will promote access to financial institutions for our countrymen, especially the agricultural sector, Escudero said.

The entry of a new major telco player and the opening of submarine cables that will link the Philippines to other countries will result in improved connectivity in the country.

Furthermore, the senator appealed to financial institutions to provide more funding to agriculture to ensure inclusive growth in the country.

I also hope that linkages be established by rural banks and other financial institutions to broaden the access to financial services, he said.

A recent study by the BSP showed that only 33 percent or 551 municipalities and cities in the Philippines are covered by banking institutions.

Among the reasons why Filipinos don't open a bank account are the high cost of initial deposit, high maintaining balance, high dormancy charges, numerous documentary requirements, and distance of banks from home.

The launch of the Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings is part of its #KayaNa: Unbanked Filipinos No More Movement, which aims to reach more unbanked and underserved Filipinos and encourage them to save for the future through its microsavings product.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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