The Philippines’ financial services sector entered the Covid-19 pandemic on a solid footing, thanks to decades of regulatory reform to address the vulnerabilities exposed by the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. Strong capital buffers, high levels of provisioning and near-universal public health cover insulated the country from many of the impacts that other markets continue to wrestle with. While geographic spread and socio-economic disparities remain structural barriers, increasingly tech-focused growth strategies are improving both bottom lines and financial inclusion among the population in measurable ways. The country has experienced a boom in digital banking as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with several digital-only banks announcing plans to enter the market, legacy banks rapidly upgrading their online offerings and the central bank eyeing ambitious digital banking targets.
This chapter contains interviews with Benjamin E Diokno, Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Kelvin Ang, CEO, AIA Philam Life; and Sanjiv Vohra, President and CEO, Security Bank.