Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Cebuana Lhuillier Launches Micro Savings Product

Cebuana Lhuillier seeks financial inclusion through Micro Savings. 

Having worked in a financial institution for a few years, I know for a fact that it is not exactly easy to open a bank account for the regular Juan. Not only will you be asked for a minimum of two valid IDs, often times a minimum of P2,000 (for passbook account) is also asked for initial deposit and just about the same maintaining balance, for the most part. This truth makes it almost impossible for the masses to afford opening a savings account. Who would want to open an supposed savings account of which balance be eaten up by "below maintaining balance" charges?

And we know how it is when a person does not have a savings account, hand-to-mouth existence is just about the default. Truth be told, if a working person is able to save even just a minimum amount on a constant basis, it will be easier to be more prudent with one's resources, paving the way towards becoming wiser stewards of money.

I recently learned through the Financial Inclusion Forum by Cebuana Lhuillier that around 70% of our population in the Philippines are unbanked or underbanked. How sad is that?

Acting as a cash agent of the Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank (CLRB), micro savings is Cebuana Lhuillier’s platform for Filipinos to overcome the barriers to saving. While Filipinos like to save, they opt to keep it at home according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)

Unlike regular banks, where a lot of our fellow Filipinos cannot afford to open an account with, Cebuana Lhuillier empowers the masses through their Micro Savings product.

Requirements to open a Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings Account:

1. 1 Valid ID
2. P50 Initial Deposit

The best news is that it requires no maintaining balance! Giving every single Filipino no excuse to not open a savings account. And because of Cebuana Lhuillier’s wide network of branches comprised of 2,500 retail infrastructures, account holders can deposit and withdraw anywhere at their most convenient hours.

The Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings Account product is in line with the Cebuana Lhuillier’s mission of financial inclusion, which has been the thrust of the company for the past 30 years.

“With BSP’s basic deposit framework, Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings completes the full roster of our services, all designed and developed with financial inclusion in mind. We’ve come full circle—from offering collateralized loans or pawning, remittance service, micro insurance and now, micro savings—all of these products were designed with Filipinos from all walks of life in mind especially the unbanked and underserved, who would not have access to these financial services given their circumstances in life,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president & CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier.

To ensure that micro savings account holders can fully maximize the use of their savings account and ensure greater connectivity, Cebuana Lhuillier will also be launching its very own eCebuana app which allows micro savings users to check their balance and send money through remittance, as well as load prepaid credits to their phones, and pay their bills by integrating it to their Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings account.

“Cebuana Lhuillier is also adapting a new philosophy, which is financial wellness.  Our goal is not just to provide quick cash to the underbanked and unbanked for their short-term financial needs but to become an enabler for a better future for them. Allowing more and more Filipinos to steer their own direction and be captains of their own ship.  We want to help them graduate from being dependent through bridge financing options for them to experience financial freedom,” Lhuillier said.

The launch of Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings coincides with the launch of the #KayaNa: Unbanked Filipinos No More Movement, which aims to transform the landscape of saving in the Philippines. In light and in support of the BSP’s call for greater financial inclusion among Filipinos, Cebuana Lhuillier aims to reach more underserved Filipinos and empower them to save for the future through its micro savings product.