Tuesday, May 30, 2017
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The Consumer

BSP plans to ease deposit account requirements

Several years ago, a newspaper reported about a poor young couple who tried to deposit, in a bank, money they saved for the birth of their first child. The bank refused their deposit because they did not meet the requirements to open an account.

The couple were later found dead, their money taken by the assailants.

Stringent requirements for opening bank accounts have made many Filipinos keep their cash in their homes or invest with the first “snake oil” salesperson who promises to double, even triple, the money.

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The problem is compounded by the amount required as initial deposit, and the need for a maintaining balance. For those in the informal economy—even for salaried employees—keeping a daily maintaining balance of at least P2,000 is hard, especially as the interest earned is negligible.

Some banks also charge fees when the balance falls below the minimum.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is trying to remedy the situation—“looking at removing the maintaining balance for deposit accounts as part of efforts to reach the unbanked sector,” according to a newspaper report.

Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. says BSP is studying ways to make opening basic deposit accounts easier, the report says. “That (the deposit account) is the entry point for the unbanked. Low requirements, no fees, no frills and easy to open accounts.”

He says consumers need bank accounts to participate in the National Retail Payment System that aims to increase retail electronic payment transactions.

Saving is a good habit, and keeping the money in the bank, despite low interest rates, is safer than keeping cash at home. As accounts are insured, depositors can expect to recover some, if not all, their money if anything happens to the bank.

Summer-ready

As scorching hot days are felt in the next couple of months, it’s time to make our homes “summer-ready.”

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Clean air-conditioners and electric fans so they operate at optimal levels. Open windows in the daytime. Clean, repair or replace windows and door screens to let in more air.

Add air-cleaning plants like snake plants, spider plants, English ivy and small-leafed rubber plants.

Clean the refrigerator to make sure it’s working properly. If the freezer is empty or half full, make more ice.

For air-conditioned rooms, install solar window treatments to block the sun. Plant a shade tree next to the air-conditioner to help it run more efficiently.

Replace bulbs with LEDs (light emitting diodes) which use less energy, are much cooler and last decades. Although still more expensive, LED prices have fallen sharply. Besides, your savings you will more than make up for the higher cost.

Similarly, if appliances need replacement, choose brands that use inverter technology, if your budget allows. Savings in energy cost is worth the price.

Electrolux has launched some of its appliances that may help make the hot months more comfortable while keeping your energy consumption low. UltimateCare front-load washing machine, Vita split-type air-conditioner and NutriFresh refrigerator use the energy-efficient inverter technology.

The UltraFlex vacuum cleaner’s filter seals in 99 percent of dust and allergens, which are abundant during the dry season. For those who prefer to cook food with electric power, the induction cooker will do it much faster and use less energy.

Visit www.electrolux.com. ph for tips on how to be comfortable during summer while using less energy.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax no. 8974793/94; email the.consumer.inquirer@gmail.com

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TAGS: bank, deposit
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