China Bank Savings advocates financial inclusion for teachers
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - January 8, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It’s no secret that public school teachers are the usual victims of loan sharks. Indeed, the average teacher’s pay is usually not enough to sustain a family that out of desperation, many of the country’s teachers and even non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) end up being trapped in debt.

Why so? Everyone knows that teachers are among the lowest-paid professionals. Unfortunately, like most Filipino families, they are not spared from having to lend out what little they have to relatives – especially those with emergencies.

This makes it important for public school teachers to be educated on the importance of financial literacy; that it is possible for them to grow their money however little they earn.

They must also be provided access to financing and loans that do not charge exorbitant interest and has a system of payment that is bearable for both the lender and the borrower so that the borrower does not end up being buried in debt.

Thanks to the “China Bank Savings DepEd Venture: Alay sa mga Guro,” China Bank Savings (CSB) helps teachers become more financially literate so they do not end up indebted beyond their means to pay. The program recognizes that teachers are very important pillars of the country’s development.

As part of the DepEd’s commemoration of National Teachers’ Month and World Teachers’ Day in October last year, CBS gathered around 600 public school teachers and DepEd employees from 59 participating schools for a well-deserved day packed with leisure and learning activities.

According to CBS president Alberto Emilio Ramos, the bank advocates financial inclusion and the promotion of quality public education.

“The DepEd Venture is CBS’ way of giving back to our teachers and DepEd employees who make great sacrifices in molding upright, successful citizens and building a progressive nation. We want CBS to be the financial partner of choice of DepEd teachers and staff at every stage of their career,” Ramos said.

A highlight of the event was the exclusive seminar on financial wellness for DepEd employees.

The CBS financial wellness seminar was motivated by a Social Weather Stations survey that showed nine out of 10 Filipinos experienced being short of cash and that 49 per cent of those surveyed expressed openness to enhancing their knowledge on financial management.

“The teach-in focused on improving personal financial wellness, spurring smart consumer decisions and making well-informed investment choices of their future,” Ramos added.

The seminar featured business coach and motivational speaker Rex Mendoza founder and CEO of Rampver Financials, a dynamic niche player in financial services specializing in investments and the biggest non-bank distributor of mutual funds in the Philippines.

During the forum, Mendoza stressed the value of investing. He said employees, including teachers, should set aside a portion of their income for investments. Doing this regularly would enable teachers to grow their money.

He also discussed the value of access to formal credit and allocating borrowed funds to gainful purposes like investments in property or business or to cover health and education needs of family.

In an interview with The STAR, Niel Jumawan, assistant vice president for CBS’s lending group, said the bank offers teachers easier access to lending.

This, he said, is much better than borrowing from loan sharks because the borrowing cost is very competitive and it is done in partnership with the DepEd.

The move is part of its role of fulfilling the Bangko Sentral’s mandate to improve financial inclusion in the country is to offer a product for public.

So far, the bank has already lent P2 billion to 16,000 teachers and employees.

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