No banks in 46 Cordillera towns

BAGUIO CITY  – Forty six of the seventy seven cities and municipalities in the Cordillera remain without banks which is one of the major deterrent in the region’s supposed robust growth, an official of the La Union-based Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said here recently.

BSP La Union regional Office officer-in-charge Beta Cervantes said that as of the first semester this year, there are already 184 banks in the region which is higher by 8.4 percent compared to the 167 banks recorded in the region last year.

She disclosed that one of the good indications of economic growth in the region is the 17 percent increase in deposits regionwide from the P96.27 billion deposits last year to over P112.64 billion deposits at the end of the first semester this year.

However, the BSP official claimed that loans in the region also increased from P9 billion last year to over P12 billion at the end of the first semester this year, thus, the loan to deposit ratio was around 10.9 percent and that the remaining P100 billion might have been lent out in other regions.

On the other hand, Cervantes revealed that there are some 284 automated teller machines (ATMs) that are distributed in the different parts of the region to make withdrawals of money easier for those having speedy financial transactions.

Of the 184 banks in the region, 85 are classified to be rural and cooperative banks, 74 are universal and commercial banks and 19 are said to be thrift banks.

According to her, the significant growth in ATMs and banks were reported in Abra, Benguet and Ifugao over the past several months.

Of the 284 ATMs that were distributed regionwide, 259 are owned by universal and commercial banks, 14 are in thrift banks and 9 are based in rural and cooperative banks.

Cervantes pointed out that the P12 billion loans that were floated by the different banks in the region represent 0.15 percent of total loans in the country wherein P8.4 billion worth of loans were shelled out by universal and commercial banks, P2.8 billion were released by rural and commercial banks and P1.1 billion were approved by thrift banks.

Moreover, the BSP official stipulated that of the P112 billion worth of deposits or liabilities that represent 0.94 percent of total deposits or liabilities in the country wherein P67.1 billion are classified to be savings deposits, P30.8 billion are demand deposits, P14.8 billion are said to be time deposits and P14.3 million are in other form of deposits.

Cervantes expressed confidence that with the upcoming opening of the BSP Baguio branch office along Loakan road by early next year, there will be a healthy financial intermediation in the different parts of the region to help in spurring the desired economic growth after the Cordillera continues to lag behind in terms of the number of cities and municipalities where banks are established and operate.

The operation of the BSP Baguio branch office will be the 23rd regional and branch office of the BSP that will be established for the benefit of bringing closer to the people the BSP’s services and programs.

By HENT

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