Why Filipinos don’t have bank accounts

/ 05:10 AM July 20, 2018

The article, “Majority of Filipinos still have no bank accounts, says Bangko Sentral” (Business, 7/12/18) said: “Only one-fourth of all Filipinos own bank accounts that facilitate their participation in the financial system…” BSP cited reasons for why the other three-fourths don’t bother to put their money in banks, and the benefits they are missing out on.

But the BSP deliberately omitted to mention what matters most to many a bank depositor: Banks pay just a little over half of one percent interest rate PER ANNUM. Thus, if one puts P100,000 in a bank account, he would earn about P500 interest PER YEAR less the ubiquitous taxes! As usury is already passé in this country, one with the money would rather lend it to borrowers who pay about 5 percent interest PER MONTH without the ton of paperwork banks bury them in.


In a legal sense, the bank is the depositors’ debtor that pays them interest at such a laughable rate. But when any depositor borrows money from the bank, the latter charges 20 to 30 percent interest per annum—prededucted! The proffered excuse is the administrative cost banks have to deal with in such loan transactions. But what about the risks depositors take with the “glitches” in the banks’ computer systems and hackers who, in minutes, could wipe out all their savings? Restoration of their accounts could take weeks or months.

Bank owners’ riches grow by the billions. Any way one looks at it, it’s the BSP-sanctioned rip-off by the banks that makes depositors cry foul all the time. “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, mag-impok sa bangko”? Whose leg are the BSP officials—themselves overpaid by taxpayers in the tens of millions in salaries, allowances and bonuses—pulling?


STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, [email protected]

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TAGS: bank account, financial literacy, financial management, Savings
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