Illustrative Image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on September 19 announced that it had approved a 300 million USD loan to support the Philippine government's effort to expand financial services across the country, especially among entrepreneurs, small businesses, farmers, workers, and individuals, including women and vulnerable households.

The bank said its Inclusive Finance Development Programme aims to help the Philippines develop a resilient and inclusive financial sector.

The project will help the government strengthen the country's institutional and policy environment for expanding financial services and invest in support networks and infrastructure such as the national retail payment system and the new national identification system.

It will also improve the abilities of financial institutions, including rural banks, to offer financial products, particularly through the application of new technologies, according to the ADB.

ADB Senior Financial Sector Specialist Kelly Hattel said that public and private sector entities that provide financial services will benefit from the programme.

Hattel added that businesses, including micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and individuals will also benefit as they will have better access to a wider range of appropriate financial services and stronger protection against economic shocks.

The ADB revealed that in 2017, only 34 percent of Filipino adults had a bank account, compared with 82 percent in Thailand and 49 percent in Indonesia.

The Philippine economy grew 6.7 percent last year, the fastest among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). However, the country has also ranked among the highest in income inequality.-VNA