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Finance Market Leaders bare plans to address financial inclusion in Phl

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(In photo from left, Ron Recto of the Rural Bank of San Antonio, Ana Alingong-Lazzari, Country Funders CEO and Antonio Separovic Co-founder and CEO of Oradian at the Oradian Customer Summit in Fairmont Hotel, Makati City.)

The BSP has an ambitious target to reach 70% financial inclusion by 2030. With tens of millions of Filipinos still unable to access financial services, technology must be the driving force behind meeting this goal. At the summit held in Manila, some of the pioneers powered by Oradian’s advanced core banking system. Some of these institutions are leaders on the fintech stage, while others used Oradian’s advanced technology to digitalise their operations and become growth leaders in their markets.

Among the pioneering institutions in attendance were Cantilan Bank, Salmon (FHL), Esquire Financing, Agribank, Country Funders, LifeBank, and RAFI. The highlight of this summit was a panel discussion, hosted by Oradian CEO Antonio Separovic, with financing company Country Funders CEO Ana Alingong-Lazzari, and Ron Recto of the Rural Bank of San Antonio. 

They shared a number of key insights about the challenges and opportunities facing the push for digitalisation and financial inclusion in the Philippines:

The unbanked still represent a large opportunity for financial services firms, particularly the large, young labour force.

The unbanked are already interacting with financial services through digital channels, such as mobile payments, but the sophistication of these transactions is limited.

Outside the main metropolitan areas, there are serious challenges to adopting digital financial services, although people are slowly becoming more comfortable with using digital channels. This means institutions may initially have to start with a mix of face-to-face and digital services, then transition when the market is ready.

Education is still needed to drive adoption, so institutions must invest in educating their customers on the benefits of digital services, but also how to use them safely.

Institutions must embrace partnerships if they want to succeed, including with technology providers, banks, and payment channels. This creates economies of scale, lowering costs for institutions.

The key conclusion is that technology is among the very biggest enablers for growth and performance, powering a new generation of innovative institutions that can bring financial services to new markets and underbanked communities.

Ana Alingong-Lazzari, President and CEO of Country Funders said:  “We started with a lot of different solutions that we created, and some proprietary solutions that we wanted to keep. These are unique to us, and we wanted a tech solution that is flexible, that will allow us to use these and will not force us to change the way we do things, but rather further enhance the processes or the practices that we believe are unique to us. So with Oradian, we took the risk, and now we’re here, we’re still working!”

For his part, Antonio Separovic, CEO and Co-founder of Oradian said, “The growth of market leaders here today is a testament to what we’ve done together. Our mission originally to enable financial institutions to serve more clients using tech, and we’d like to say: think bigger, go further.”

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