BSP to introduce 'Branch Lite' concept

By Joann Villanueva

November 7, 2017, 5:30 pm

MANILA -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is giving banks more leeway to cater to more people, especially in unbanked cities and municipalities, through the introduction of what will be known as Branch Lite units.

In her speech during the Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) general membership meeting in Dusit Thani Manila, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said 571 cities and municipalities around the country remain unserved by banks.

To make banking services easily accessible to more people, the central bank official said they have floated to banks a proposal on the Branch Lite concept, which would have less requirements in terms of branch infrastructure design.

She said a Branch Lite can be opened near markets to bring it closer to consumers and financial customers.

“This is part of BSP’s liberalization measures to be more responsive to the changing financial consumers and provide an environment to reach greater scale,” she said.
The BSP official said this bank branch concept would give banks more flexibility because it does not only target financial inclusion but also helps banks entice more customers as well as encourage expansion plans.

“It will give them flexibility in designing their expansion plans and on really tailor-fitting their products to the particular market segment that they want to serve,” she said.

Fonacier noted that banks had expressed strong interest in the concept, “especially for those having retail business models”.

She told journalists after the event that discussions on the topic are almost over.

“We’re targeting (to release the Circular) within November or before the year ends,” she said, citing that they had also asked for the comments of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) and the central bank’s Department of Economic Research (DER) for this purpose.  (PNA)