> Posted by Center Staff

The total savings portfolio of the Philippine microfinance industry is greater than its total loan portfolio for the first time. News of the achievement came in an announcement last week from Amando M. Tetangco, Governor of the country’s central bank at the launch of the 11th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards. During the first quarter of this year, the total savings of the country’s microfinance clients reached P8.2 billion (US$ 189 million), while their total loans were P8 billion (US$ 184 million). This is a dramatic surge in savings compared to the end of 2012, when industry totals were P6.4 billion in savings, and P8.4 billion in loans. These numbers suggest that as clients take out and repay loans, they’re able to sustain savings levels.

In The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2012 Microscope on Microfinance, the Philippines was ranked as the fourth best microfinance business environment in the world, and as the microfinance environment with the best regulatory framework and practices. Last month the government enacted new legislation allowing foreign entities to hold up to 60 percent equity in the country’s government-sponsored rural banks, with the aim to further promote economic development in rural areas. The opportunity for expanding microfinance outreach in the Philippines remains great. Out of the Philippines population of 95 million, 33 percent live below the poverty line, and only 27 percent have an account at a formal financial institution.

*This post was modified from its original version on July 17. The original version incorrectly indicated that the Philippine microfinance industry has 1 million clients.

Image Credit: Transparency International

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