Over the years, the Philippines has made great strides in financial inclusion. But a lot depends on geography as not all Filipinos have equal access to traditional formal financial institutions and their services, a report by FINTQnologies Corp. and Voyager Innovation shows.

Still, the report concludes that there is a big opportunity for banks, financial institutions and financial services providers to to provide cost-effective and cost-efficient digital solutions for the vast unbanked and underserved population coming from outside the Metro Manila.

Among the findings show:

  • Access to traditional financial institutions remains unequal across provinces.  About 92% of total domestic deposit and 97% of total domestic loan volume in 2017 only came from 23 high-access provinces, a similar trend observed in 2015.
  • Conflict-ridden, geographically separated, and low-income provinces comprise the Bottom 40% in the Index. About 17% of the population live in low-access provinces, yet the residents only received 0.9% of the total loan transactions and 2.5% of total domestic deposits in 2017 — an indication that financial resources may not be enough for the local population.
  • FinTech has the greatest potential in transforming the country’s financial landscape. Based on FINTQ data, majority of borrowers who access digital lending platforms actually come from outside Metro Manila, where financial resources from traditional banks are heavily concentrated.
  • Opportunities for banks, financial institutions and financial services providers are huge in FinTech.

New insights from FINTQ’s data show the spending and demographic profile of the traditionally untapped borrowers who are digitally savvy yet underserved.

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