Published September 07, 2017
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FINTQ, the financial technology arm of the PLDT Group’s Voyager Innovations, along with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and several partners in the government, banking, financial services, and civil sectors today launched “KasamaKa,” a grassroots movement that aims to help promote inclusive digital finance for all Filipinos nationwide.
KasamaKa is an income and community builder that aims to spread greater access to finance to more Filipinos nationwide through a digital referral system that incentivizes enterprising individuals, steering them away from informal lenders by giving them access to reasonable cost of credit, and introducing them to a complete suite of digital financial services.
“Many Filipinos remain at the outskirts of society when it comes to access to finance, which translates to limited economic opportunities needed to drive inclusive growth. We welcome FINTQ's KasamaKa as a private sector initiative that supports the objectives of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. We see its potential to promote the development of inclusive digital finance and establish a mechanism where Filipinos can become ambassadors of financial inclusion in their respective communities,” said Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr., Governor at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
“Digital technology plays a key role in giving wider access to finance for all–but it must be complemented by a program that recognizes the realities lived by Filipinos every day. KasamaKa aims to be that bridge linking the government and the private sector’s efforts to the common folk so that all of the benefits of technology are genuinely felt by all,” added Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman at PLDT, Smart, Voyager and FINTQ.
The movement aims to translate the BSP’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) framework into an inclusive, on-ground, scalable, and sustainable execution that will also help push the share of digital transactions in the country to 20% by 2020–one of the key goals of the National Retail Payments System (NRPS).
Unequal access to financial instruments
One of the key objectives of the movement is to address gaps in access to financial instruments nationwide, which according to the inaugural FINTQ Inclusive Digital Finance Study 2017 remains unequal across the country–where only 23 out of the 82 provinces make up virtually all of the domestic deposit and domestic loan volumes in the Philippines.
Majority of these deposits and loan volumes originate from Metro Manila and Southern Luzon–known seats of power and commerce in the country–which further exacerbates the staggering imbalance in terms of financial access nationwide.
The study, which looked at the levels of access to financial services such as bank branches and ATMs across the country and access to financial services such as loans and deposits, also found that access to financial instruments remains unequal and unchanged in the past two years–necessitating a shift toward a more inclusive and grassroots approach that would benefit all.
“Digital and mobile technologies provide the much-needed boost in pushing financial inclusion in the Philippines,” said Lito Villanueva, Managing Director at FINTQ. “Using only their mobile phones, users can now apply for a loan, open a micro savings account, buy an insurance product, start with a micro investment, send money to loved ones or pay bills from wherever they are in the country. Through KasamaKa, we are building a groundswell of inclusive digital finance ambassadors who will help spread the advantages of these innovations to their respective communities, while earning additional income in the process.”
"The rollout of digital lending service Lendr is just one of the many digital financial interventions that would jumpstart the country's digital transformation. So far, it is the largest digital lending service in the country with the most extensive digital footprint covering 100% of provinces, 91% of cities and 15% of municipalities," added Villanueva.
To help achieve the goals of financial inclusion, FINTQ has partnered with various companies and groups from multiple sectors of society that will help fill the gaps needed to roll out the program on a massive scale.
"KasamaKa is true financial inclusion at work that will not only help push for a more inclusive growth in the economy, but will also help realize the digital transformation of various sectors of society. This has been our vision at Voyager from the start–to help bridge the digital and financial divide in the country, which will help in creating ‘one happy planet’," said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO at Voyager Innovations.
Aside from providing them the means to have additional income, KasamaKa will likewise launch a nationwide caravan that will help teach financial literacy to Filipinos within their respective communities.
Some of the groups and organizations that form part of the initiative include the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces, League of Cities, League of Municipalities, Liga ng mga Barangay, Philippine Public School Teachers Association, OFW Credit Cooperative, Filipino Initiated Livelihood Organization Credit Cooperative (FILO), Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization, Magsaysay Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Alliance of Philippine Partners in Enterprise Development (APPEND), Urban Poor Associates, Urban Poor for Livelihood Training (UPLIFT Philippines), Kapandesal Multipurpose Cooperative, Samana-Fa Multipurpose Cooperative, Philippine Trade & General Workers Organization, Sikap Buhay Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Office, Katipunan ng Mamamayan ng Bagong Pilipinas Foundation, Inc., Homer Foundation, Inc., Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners Inc., Bagong Pag-asa ng Maynila Vendors Association, Baclaran Vendors Development Cooperative, and Pambansang Kilusang ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), among others.
KasamaKa also counts private-sector companies and non-government organizations such as Hapinoy, Gawad Kalinga, Grameen Foundation, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Pangarap Foundation, PLDT-Smart Foundation, ERDA Foundation, Inc. (Educational Research & Development Assistance), Grab, MyPhone, OLX as its supporters.
The event also saw the launching of the "Race to 20 by 2020" campaign by multi-sectoral stakeholders to help in accelerating digital financial transactions to 20% by 2020 or in three years' time. This is anchored on the government's framework of pushing for an inclusive digital economy.
To become a KasamaKa builder, interested individuals only have to register via www.kasamaka.com or text KKK to 292901555 to receive their unique Builder ID, which they can give out to family, friends, and community members who would like to avail themselves of various digital financial services such as loans, insurance, micro-savings, and micro-investments, among others, and earn for themselves as much as P300 for every successful application.
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker