MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has partnered with Globe Telecoms and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in a bid to encourage low-income families to save money.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman said BPI Globe BanKO offers an opening balance of only P50 to beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

“We would like to teach Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries the importance of saving money by encouraging them to open a bank account for as low as P50,” Soliman said.

“It is never too late to help them learn and appreciate the benefits of saving,” she added.

BanKO is the first mobile-based, microfinance-focused savings bank in the Philippines. It provides low-income sector with safe and easy access to affordable financial services such as PondoKO (Microsavings), PuhunanKO (Microloans) and PaniguroKO (Microinsurance).

It also features the convenient way of transferring money, electronic load and paying bills through texting. The savings account also comes with a free life insurance if the depositor is able to maintain a minimum of P2,000 for at least six months, the DSWD said.

At least three million poor Filipino households are now covered by 4Ps, according to the DSWD.

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(Written by: Helen Flores, reposted from The Philippine Star, May 22, 2012)