DOF taps IFC assistance in dev't of fintech sector
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) has sought the International Finance Corp.’s (IFC) assistance in developing the financial technology (fintech) industry in the Philippines, particularly in setting up the digital infrastructure for the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB).
In a recent meeting with the IFC, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said financial technologies are crucial for the government to achieve its goal of financial inclusion.
For one, he said the government is planning to utilize fintech in organizing the Philippines’ first OFB, by converting it into a fully digital bank that uses mobile technologies rather than having physical branches to serve its clients.
Dominguez has asked the IFC for assistance in implementing this plan.
The finance chief also asked the IFC’s assistance in identifying and developing new industries to help transition workers in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector to new jobs under the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He said there are threats posed by emerging disruptive technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, on the country’s BPO industry.
“Our threat is not really from India, but from the rapid changes in technology,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said that the IT-BPO sector earns about $30 billion a year in revenues and employs around 1.2 million Filipinos.
Led by its CEO Philippe Le Houérou, the IFC assured Dominguez that the institution will support the government’s efforts in attaining financial inclusion through the use of digital technologies.
“We are with you, to improve the way we work together on Fintech, and more broadly, financial inclusion,” Le Houérou said.
During the meeting, Dominguez also underscored the need to put in place a liberal regulatory environment to enable financial technologies to flourish in the country.
The finance chief said the fintech industry in the Philippines is only starting to grow and can only sprout if unfettered by regulations.
“Let’s not choke it with regulations. Let them grow, make mistakes. Then we learn how to regulate them,” Dominguez said.