Annual discussion on financial inclusion in APEC meeting has regional importance, says Finance Undersecretary Beltran

By on March 3, 2015

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TAGAYTAY CITY, Cavite — The Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) yearly discussion on financial inclusion have regional significance because stakeholders learn from each other and apply them in actual financial transactions that impact on different economies, a finance official said on Tuesday.

“This yearly forum is important because it brings together public and private sector, financial regulators, policymakers, multilateral institutions, industry organizations and private foundations,” Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said in his keynote address during the opening session on financial inclusion at Taal Vista Hotel here.

“We continue to learn from each other,” he added.

In the next two days, Beltran said he expects delegates to venture into advancing lending infrastructure to promote inclusive financial systems that in turn improves lending on low income vulnerable households and small enterprises.

There will be a review of policy recommendations on financial inclusion to assess the extent to which they have been adopted by APEC economies and identify what challenges remain for their implementation, he said.

Mexico, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea will share their experiences to add to the vast knowledge of APEC economies experiences from previous fora.

“This exercise is important because it shows the different levels of development for financial inclusion in the region. Definitely, we also learn from our differences,” Beltran said.

Also in the agenda for discussion include digital finance as well as how digital financial service providers can improve customer centricity.

And to solve the asymmetric information problem in financial inclusion, credit information systems will be examined with high emphasis on private credit bureau and public credit registry and how they can complement each other.

Making public and non-bank data more accessible to private bureaus will also be discussed to improve efficiency.

“We are also pushing on how to assist SMEs more access to credit by creating more credit reporting products for them,” Beltran said underscoring the importance of SMEs, which serve as the backbones of APEC economies.

SMEs creates jobs and APEC members must support SMEs in every way possible, he noted.Reforms in the legal and regulatory regimes are also needed to improve the security transactions of SMEs, Beltran said adding that talks about commercial law reforms are also being discussed.

“We are aiming to build supportive operational infrastructure for secured finance with particulars on the practical infrastructure needs of the secured lending sector for secured financing to the mid-market,” he said.

Finance officials are also looking at the possibility of an initiative aimed at supporting the acceleration of reforms in participating APEC economies where reforms have been introduced, Beltran added.

The two-day forum on financial inclusion has strong relevance to the general theme of the country’s hosting of APEC Summit this year.

Philippines APEC 2015 carries the theme “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”.