20-piso banknote remains legal tender — BSP

Maris Federez   •   September 28, 2021   •   1127

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has advised the public that the 20-Piso New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes remain as legal tender and that it still can be used alongside the 20-Piso NGC coins for day-to-day transactions.

In a statement, the country’s central bank said that the 20-peso NGC banknotes, shall be gradually removed from circulation through natural attrition or until they become unfit for recirculation.

In relation to this, the BSP also recently issued an advisory to banks to promote the distribution, recirculation, and mobilization of the 20-peso coins.

The BSP released the new 20-peso NGC coin on 17 December 2019.

The bi-color 20-peso coin retains major elements of the 20-peso banknote. The obverse side of the coin features Manuel L. Quezon, while the reverse side shows the BSP logo, the Malacañan Palace, and the Nilad plant.

In a Facebook post, the BSP has warned the public of circulating messages that the 20-peso banknotes will be demonetized by the end of the year.

The BSP enjoins the public to properly use and recirculate Philippine coins for their economic and cultural value. —/mbmf

Bangko Sentral backs digitalization of microfinance institutions

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday expressed its commitment to help the country’s microfinance institutions (MFI) to move forward in their digitalization journey.

In a statement, the BSP said MFIs play an important role in promoting financial inclusion in the countryside as last-mile financial service providers.

“We continue to engage the donor and development communities to encourage the provision of technical and financial assistance for the digitalization initiatives of MFIs,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a conference with a network of microfinance entities.

“We are thus working to further ensure MFIs are equally placed alongside big industry players and well-positioned to advance financial inclusion beyond the pandemic,” he added.

The BSP said that as of the first quarter of 2021, there are 149 microfinance banks servicing 2.05 million borrowers.

Diokno urged MFIs to explore digital innovations under the BSP’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap (DPTR).

“The roadmap envisions 70 percent of Filipino adults owning a transaction account and at least 50 percent of transactions done digitally by 2023,” he added.

A key DPTR initiative is the rollout of the PhilSys ID, which MFIs can use to conduct Know-Your-Customer activities online and in real time to reduce onboarding costs.

Another DPTR initiative is the BSP’s issuance of a policy on digital banks, which can act as service partners for MFIs.

A digital bank offers financial products and services that are processed end-to-end through a digital platform or electronic channel.

The BSP said it also endorsed Executive Order No. 127, which promotes satellite broadband technologies to advance rural connectivity.

This reform initiative can help MFIs deliver financial services more efficiently to rural communities, it added.

Bangko Sentral closes application for new non-bank e-money issuers

Robie de Guzman   •   December 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday announced it is closing for two years the applications for new non-bank electronic money issuers (EMI).

In a statement, the BSP said the moratorium will be imposed beginning December 16.

“The Monetary Board decided to recalibrate the approach in handling applications from non-bank institutions for new EMI licenses in line with the thrust of the Bangko Sentral to promote financial stability and strengthen public confidence in the digital economy,” it said.

The central bank said the approach involves the closure of the regular application window for new EMI-Others license for non-bank financial institutions for a period of two years and the introduction of the test-and-learn pathway for innovative e-money solutions that offer strong value propositions.

“This strategic change will enable the Bangko Sentral to monitor the performance of current market players and the risks they pose to the financial industry. This will also allow us to assess their impact in relation to our financial inclusion and digital payments transformation objectives,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

The BSP said all applications it received until December 15, 2021 will be processed on a first-come, first-served.

“These will be assessed for completeness and sufficiency of documentation/information submitted as well as compliance with other applicable requirements,” it added.

Applications received until December 15, 2021 with noted deficiencies will be returned and considered closed, the central bank said.

New applications beginning December 16, 2021 will no longer be entertained, it added.

The BSP said the policy approach introduced the test-and-learn pathway for new non­-bank EMI applicants with new business models, unserved, targeted niches, and/or (new technologies.

“In particular, said applicants may still participate in the digital payments and financial ecosystem by requesting for exception under the Test-and-Learn / Regulatory SandboxFramework,” it said.

“The specific guidelines governing new non-bank EMI applications under the Regulatory Sandbox Framework shall be covered by a separate issuance,” it added.

Diokno explained that the policy decision “reflects our commitment to espouse an enabling environment for responsible and responsive innovation in the financial industry.”

“At the same time, we will be able to ensure that the business environment continues to serve the public interest, allow healthy competition among market players, and foster safe and interoperable payments for the digital economy,” he added.

As of end-October 2021, the BSP said there are already 35 licensed non-bank EMls, which is more than three times the number of players in 2019.

Bangko Sentral eyes offline digital payments to boost financial inclusion in off-grid areas

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday said it is eyeing offline digital payment solutions to enable transactions without the need for internet connection.

In a statement, the BSP said this is part of an effort to boost financial inclusion in off-grid areas.

While an effective and reliable internet connectivity is a necessary condition for digital finance to flourish, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank is also pursuing digital solutions to enable ‘offline payments.’

The BSP said it is working on this initiative under the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap (DPTR), which aims to convert 50 percent of the volume of retail payments into digital form.

The initiative also aims to onboard 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system by 2023.

The BSP earlier reported it has achieved its target of reaching 20 percent of digital payments volume by 2020. The increase was largely driven by high-frequency, low-value retail transactions through electronic fund transfers.

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