E-banking: rural banks’ approach to financial inclusion


With the pervasive influence of mobile devices and wireless networks these days, rural banks recognize the role of these technologies in various aspects of our daily lives, especially trading and commerce.

The ubiquitous availability and reach of mobile devices and wireless networks has already opened up countless possibilities. By effectively bridging the communication gap between people, mobile devices are now also seen as valuable tools for efficiently performing banking transactions.

Most recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas requested the support of banks and financial institutions in setting up retail electronic payments (ERP) systems to extend the reach of financial services and improve the habits of savings of Filipinos.

Rural banks fully support this call and, in fact, have already started to use the potential of mobile devices years ago.

In 2008, the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP), in partnership with Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS), pioneered the use of mobile technology to deliver microfinance services to the countryside.

Recognizing the potential of innovative technologies and the fact that most of the country’s inhabitants already own mobile devices, RBAP-MABS has developed plans to expand access to financial services.

Rural banks with mobile network giants Globe Telecom and SMART Communications, Inc. have made banking services possible through the use of mobile phones – these include deposits, withdrawals, loans, loan payments and of invoices, remittances, salary payments and mobile commerce opportunities for small-scale, large-scale merchants. The use and acceptance of mobile money and debit cards compatible with mobile money have also been introduced.

Mobile money-enabled debit cards such as GCash Debit Cards and Smart Money MasterCard not only offered the convenience of accessing automated teller machines (ABMs), but also made cashless purchases possible in the tens of thousands. nationwide merchant points of sale (POS).

According to the RBAP-MABS report, at the end of June 2012, the number of rural bank branches accredited to offer mobile banking services using GCash and Smart Money reached 1,171, while registered mobile customers reached almost 400,000. , the rural banking sector generated three million mobile phones

banking transactions valued at 17 billion pesos.

In addition, data from the central bank showed that the network of ATMs in the rural banking sector has grown steadily. As of the end of March this year, rural banks had 468 on-site and off-site ATMs, a 35% increase from 347 recorded in the same period last year.

With most transactions, usually done in physical bank offices and at the mercy of long queues, effectively brought within reach of customers, there is no doubt that more people will be encouraged to learn financial management and more. late in making transactions with banks. More importantly and positively, the unbanked and underbanked sectors will soon be integrated under the umbrella of financial inclusion.

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