The banks that offer free and low-cost financial counselling, in accordance with the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) Guidelines, have received up to 10 per cent of the total revenue from financial services over the past four years.
However, it is likely that the number of banks offering such services will continue to grow, with the FSFS report estimating that the total number of financial institutions offering free financial counseling in the country is at least five times higher than it was just four years ago.
The FSF’s report, titled The Rise of Financial Counselling: A Review of the Statistics, states that from January 1, 2019, all banks in the Philippines will be able to offer free or low-priced financial counselling.
According to the FSO, the main reason for the increase is that the Government of the Philippines is increasingly concerned with financial security and needs financial assistance to cope with the crisis.
The report also states that more and more people are increasingly choosing to receive financial counselling to help them cope with financial difficulties.
According the report, one-third of Filipinos said they have received financial counselling at least once a month, and another quarter have received it at least three times a month.
Financial counsellors are now available in more than 100 banks across the country, including many large banks, banks that are already certified by the FOSSA and the Philippine Commercial Bank Association (PCBA).
According to PCBA’s spokesperson, Gaby Diaz, the organisation is currently working on a nationwide network of financial counsellor clinics to be launched in the coming months.
The latest report by the Office of the Financial Counsellor (OFCC) indicates that nearly 1.7 million Filipinos have received free financial assistance from financial counselling.
The OFCC is currently assessing the impact of these services on the economy and financial stability.
In a statement, PCBA spokesperson Gaby Dantas said, “The Philippines has a long history of offering financial counselling services.
The fact that they are being offered in more and longer duration gives us a better sense of the scope of the programme.
The Philippines has one of the highest rates of debt forgiveness in the world, with one in three Filipinos currently receiving an order of credit from the government.
We are also pleased to see that many banks are now offering financial counseling to their customers, particularly for the unbanked and those who do not have access to credit.”