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Monday, June 24, 2024

BPI Transforms Financial Education for Filipinos

It’s widely acknowledged that access to financial education remains limited in the Philippines. A survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas underscored the severity of this issue, revealing that merely 1 percent of surveyed Filipino adults answered financial literacy questions correctly. This alarming statistic can be attributed to various factors, including the intricate nature of financial literacy and the lack of educational materials designed specifically for the average Filipino household.

In 2023, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), through its social development arm, BPI Foundation, reaffirmed its dedication to transforming financial education in the Philippines.

This commitment was exemplified through a strategic framework that advocates financial
wellness by helping build self-reliant and sustainable families through financial education, enterprise development and livelihood, and financial inclusion.

FinEd Unboxed is a tailor-made program designed to cater to underserved communities and other
sectors such as DepEd teaching and non-teaching personnel, uniformed personnel, migrant domestic
workers and their families.

On its 45 th year, BPI Foundation unveiled the aspiration, “Kasama Lahat sa Pag-Unlad,” as it redefined itself as a pioneering force and catalyst for financial inclusivity.
BPI has been dedicated for years to uplifting and empowering underserved communities.

Through BPI Foundation, the bank continuously pursues innovative ways to provide financial education through accessible channels to target sectors. At the core of this effort is the FinEd Unboxed program, which simplifies intricate financial concepts into practical, actionable steps, guiding individuals toward financial freedom.

“I started to invest a little amount for savings, na dati ay nauubos sa kagagastos. Ngayon ay uunahin na naming magtipid para sa aming kinabukasan at sa kinabukasan ng aming pamilya,” says Rome Cheng, a teacher at Wawang Pulo National High School in Valenzuela, who was also one of the participants at a FinEd Unboxed session designed for educators. Armed with newfound knowledge, Rome made the prudent choice of putting their hard-earned money to work.

The FinEd program also extends support to repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs). In partnership with ASKI Global Limited, OFWs and MDWs received financial education training sessions.

“Natutunan ko how to budget my money, and how to manage my salary. As an
OFW, hindi po kailangan ipadala lahat ng ating pera; kailangan din nating mag-save for our retirement, for our future business,” shared Cristina De Jesus, a FinEd beneficiary in Singapore. BPI also actively promotes financial inclusion by conducting specialized FinEd Unboxed sessions for beneficiaries of all the BPI Foundation programs. By weaving financial education into its livelihood programs, the bank empowers individuals and communities to take control of their finances, paving the path towards financial wellness.

“Nagkaroon ako ng ideya na pwede palang mag-ipon kahit paunti-paunti,” said Glenda Lasco, a TechVoc graduate from Agusan Del Norte.

In addition to driving financial literacy among underserved individuals, there is also an effort to support them in becoming self-reliant and improving their livelihood in the long run.

“Bukod sa nadagdagan ang aking kaalaman sa paghahalaman, napakalaking bagay sa akin na bilang isang babae, hindi lamang ito pang bahay kundi maaari rin itong gamitin sa bukid at makatulong sa aming komunidad,” shared by Fersuela Mercurio, a beneficiary of the Farm-to-Table program in Majayjay, Laguna.

In 2023, BPI also solidified a significant partnership with the DOST Science and Technology Information Institute, introducing essential financial education modules in carefully selected geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs). This groundbreaking initiative harnessed the power of DOST’s Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated KioskS (STARBOOKS), a stand-alone information resource meticulously crafted to reach individuals with limited or no access to educational materials.

“Equality is where we provide information to all. Lahat pwedeng makapunta sa STARBOOKS KIOSKS, at lahat pwedeng mag-access ng mga materials. Second is equity, to reach people with no access such as GIDAs. Kailangan walang iwanan,” says former Department of Education Undersecretary for Administration Michael Kristian Ablan during the kick-off ceremony of the partnership.

True to its core of advancing financial wellness across the country, this collaboration recently completed the turnover and deployment of STARBOOKS and other educational resources to 10 schools in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Additionally, BPI sealed a pivotal agreement last year with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Commission on Higher Education, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Insurance Commission, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the National Economic and

Development Authority – marking the launch of the “Personal Finance 101 for
College Students” program. This program aims to change the mindset and behavior of college students through a personal finance subject for higher education institutions (HEIs).

College students will be equipped with personal finance management skills as they prepare to become part of the workforce, in order to achieve financial stability, and contribute to the economy. Topics in the program include the importance of financial goals, saving and budgeting, managing credit, investing, insurance, retirement planning, and protection from financial frauds and scams.

Through dynamic programs and collaborative efforts with government institutions and private organizations, BPI takes significant strides toward creating a financially inclusive nation as part of its mission to help build a better Philippines – one family, one community at a time. #

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