Open Banking Philippines: Revolutionizing Access to Financial Services
Financial inclusion is a fundamental driver of economic development and individual prosperity. In the Philippines, however, millions of people remain excluded from the formal banking system, facing barriers to accessing essential financial services. The advent of open banking offers a glimmer of hope, promising to bridge this gap by providing unbanked Filipinos with newfound opportunities for financial empowerment.
This article explores the concept of open banking and its pivotal role in enhancing access to financial services for those who need it most.
Understanding Open Banking
Open banking is a revolutionary concept that is transforming the traditional banking landscape. It entails banks and financial institutions opening up access to their data and infrastructure, allowing third-party providers to develop innovative financial products and services. This sharing of information, when managed securely, fosters competition, efficiency, and customer-centric banking services.
Financial Inclusion in the Philippines
The Philippines is a nation of stark contrasts, where glittering skyscrapers coexist with impoverished communities. Despite being home to a thriving economy, a substantial portion of the population remains excluded from the formal banking sector. For many, this exclusion is due to geographical remoteness, lack of proper identification, or the simple absence of traditional brick-and-mortar banks in their vicinity.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, reveals that as of 2022, “25.0 percent of adult Filipinos are knowledgeable on basic financial concepts”. This lack of access to basic financial services hampers the unbanked’s ability to save, invest, and protect themselves from unexpected financial crises, ultimately perpetuating cycles of poverty.
The Bigger Picture
Understanding the significance of open banking within the broader context is essential. In an increasingly digital world, access to financial services is not just a matter of convenience but a fundamental right. Financial services can provide a safety net, enable savings, and offer opportunities for investment and economic growth. By leaving a significant portion of the population unbanked, the Philippines is not only stifling the potential of its people but also impacting its overall economic development.
The unbanked population often turns to informal, unregulated financial services, which can expose them to high risks and predatory lending practices. In this context, open banking becomes a transformative force for change. It empowers the unbanked by providing them with secure and regulated access to financial services, allowing them to save, invest, and protect their finances.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is a leading example of how open finance can be used to improve the financial system. According to Manila Bulletin’s blog post -The BSP has actively fostered an environment conducive to open banking, issuing Circular No. 1105 in 2021 to provide guidelines for digital banks, including those that operate under an open banking framework. This regulatory support has helped to create a secure, privacy-focused, and compliant open banking ecosystem in the Philippines.
According to one of the articles of Mckinsey , data shows that the Philippines has one of the fastest population growth rates worldwide, and the bankable population is projected to rise from 65 million in 2022 to 85 million by 2030—a 30 percent increase.
These success stories illustrate that open banking is not just about financial services but also about unlocking economic potential and fostering self-sufficiency among unbanked Filipinos. It represents a stepping stone towards addressing broader issues of poverty and income inequality.
Challenges and What is Ahead
While open banking offers tremendous potential, it is not without its challenges. Security and privacy concerns, along with the need for regulatory clarity, must be addressed to ensure a smooth transition to this new financial landscape.
Amihan Global Strategies can help to address these challenges and implement open banking finance with Higala, an open banking API co-developed with Talino Venture Studios that will increase inclusivity in the financial system. First, Amihan can provide consulting services to banks and fintech companies on how to develop and implement open banking solutions. Second, Amihan can help banks and fintech companies to comply with open banking regulations. Third, Amihan can develop and integrate Higala with other financial systems. Finally, Amihan can provide training and support to banks and fintech companies on how to use Higala and other open banking solutions.
In addition to addressing the challenges of open banking, Amihan can also help to promote the adoption of open banking finance and the “Higala” open banking service. Amihan can do this by educating the public about the benefits of open banking finance, advocating for policies that support open banking finance, and collaborating with other stakeholders in the financial industry to develop and implement open banking standards.
By helping to implement open banking finance and plug in the “Higala” open banking service, Amihan Global Strategies can play a vital role in promoting financial inclusion and economic growth in the Philippines. Open banking finance has the potential to empower millions of unbanked and underbanked Filipinos by giving them access to a wider range of financial products and services. The “Higala” open banking service is a particularly important development, as it is designed to be accessible to Filipinos from all walks of life, regardless of their income or social status.
Amihan Global Strategies is a leading provider of digital transformation and innovation services in the Philippines. The company has a deep understanding of the financial industry and the unique challenges and opportunities facing the Philippines. Amihan is well-positioned to help banks and fintech companies implement open banking finance and plug in solutions like Higala in a way that is secure, compliant, and beneficial to all stakeholders.
The future of open banking in the Philippines is brimming with possibilities. To further financial inclusion, the government, regulators, financial institutions, and fintech companies must collaborate closely. This partnership can help create a robust open banking ecosystem, ensuring that the unbanked gain access to a broad range of financial products and services.
Open banking represents a transformative opportunity for the Philippines to advance financial inclusion. By dismantling the barriers that keep millions of Filipinos from accessing financial services, open banking empowers the unbanked to take control of their financial destinies. As the nation continues to adopt open banking practices and enact robust regulations, a brighter financial future becomes possible for all Filipinos, regardless of their banking status. Through open banking, we may be witnessing the seeds of a more equitable and prosperous Philippines taking root, contributing to the broader mission of reducing poverty and fostering economic growth.
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Bernadette Valerio is a Marketing Associate at Amihan Global Strategies and an experienced graphic designer.