The number of microfinance borrowers increased 191 percent in 2012 from a decade ago, an indication that the Philippine banking sector is expanding, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in a report.
“It is worth noting that since 2002, microfinance in the banking system has grown dramatically. The number of microfinance borrowers increased by 191 percent to 1,137,813 million in 2012 from 390,635 clients in 2002,” the Bangko Sentral said in a report entitled the State of Financial Inclusion in the Philippines: 2012 Data Updates.
It said the microfinance loan portfolio expanded from P2.6 billion in 2002 to P8.4 billion in 2012, which was equivalent to a growth of 223 percent. From 2011 to 2012, there was sustained increase in the number of microfinance borrowers, amount of microfinance loans outstanding and savings of microfinance clients.
“While regional distribution still exhibits the trend where concentration is at regions such as NCR and Calabarzon, it is interesting to note that there is an active and thriving market for microfinance for some regions where there is relatively low usage of regular banking products and services,” it said.
It cited the Caraga region, which was next to NCR and Calabarzon in terms of amount of microfinance loans outstanding and consistently belongs in the top three for the different microfinance loan products such as microenterprise loans, micro-agri loans and housing microfinance.
It also said while the percentage of unbanked cities and municipalities in the country remained at 37 percent (611 out of 1,634), micro-banking offices enabled banking presence in areas that were previously unserved. It said the number of towns without regular banking offices but have MBOs increased by 35 percent to 50 in 2012 from 37 in 2011.