Queen Máxima lauds GCash for financial inclusion

H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, visiting the Philippines as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), commended GCash for its pivotal role in promoting financial inclusion in the country.

During her visit to the GCash headquarters in Bonifacio Global City, Queen Máxima highlighted the significant progress since her last visit in 2015. At that time, only 17% of the Philippine population used mobile financial services.

Today, many Filipinos have access to financial services, with GCash playing a crucial part. In 2015, three years after its launch, GCash had around 5 million users. By the end of 2023, approximately 94 million Filipinos had tried GCash, translating to 8 out of every 10 Filipinos.

Despite this progress, Queen Máxima noted that much work remains to establish a truly inclusive financial system in the Philippines. She emphasized that public-private partnerships are essential to ensuring all Filipinos can access and use quality financial services, improving their financial health and resilience.

Queen Máxima’s visit on May 21 included a warm welcome from Martha Sazon, president and CEO of GCash, Ernest Cu, chairman of GCash holding company Mynt and president and CEO of Globe Group, and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, director of Ayala Corporation.

Other key stakeholders, such as JT Solis, co-founder and CEO of Mayani, and Mynard Mojica from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ inclusive finance advocacy unit, were also present.

Martha Sazon expressed GCash’s commitment to financial inclusion, saying, “It’s been an honor to host Queen Máxima in our office, in her capacity as UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. We have learned a lot from our conversation with Her Majesty and we commit to continuing to champion financial inclusion in the Philippines.”

GCash has been instrumental in increasing Filipinos’ access to essential financial services like savings, insurance, and lending, especially for unbanked and underserved communities.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, digital platforms have significantly improved access to financial services. In 2019, only 29% of Filipinos had bank accounts, but this figure rose to 65% by 2022.

Other financial services have also seen increased accessibility, with credit expanding from 2% in 2014 to 8% in 2021, insurance from 23% in 2019 to 51% in 2021, and investments growing from 1% in 2020 to 2% in 2021, according to data from the Philippine Stock Exchange.

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