Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chinabank Savings starts ’em young

Chinabank Savings starts ’em young
By Jennifer Ambanta
Malaya Business Insight
October 19, 2011

Responding to the central bank’s call to educate the young on being financially responsible, Chinabank Savings, a subsidiary of the China Banking Corp., has launched a start-them-young savings program.

Children as young as 7 are now considered an important component of the savings account portfolio of Chinabank Savings.

At present, 5 percent of Chinabank Savings’ deposit portfolio is from its kiddie savers product called "Easi-save", where children can save as little as P500 initially and build up their savings from there.

If parents opt to start their children’s account at a much bigger sum of P3,000, the kiddy depositors get a free "biggy bank" as an incentive to even save more.

The savings account will yield a 1.25 percent interest per annum with a maintaining balance of P500.

According to Janice Ty, deputy senior manager for product development and marketing services of Chinabank Savings, the bank hopes to improve the 5 percent share of the children’s savings in the total deposit portfolio.

"We aim to improve it in the coming months, we will have tours and we will partner with schools to encourage savings," Ty said.

Data show that only 5 percent of Filipino kids have a savings account and only 22 percent of Filipinos have a savings account with a minimum deposit of P3,000.

"Most of the youngsters’ first savings accounts are payroll accounts, so it is really best to start teaching the kids the value of money at an early age," said Ty.

Chinabank Savings recently opened its 21st branch in Daraga and will open five more before the year ends.

BSP and Citi Foundation have joined hands in maintaining an exhibit that aims to educate kids about the value of money.

Citi Foundation, the social responsibility arm of Citi Philippines, aims to keep kids in the know about saving through an exhibit tagged as "Money Matters for Kids".

The exhibit opened in 2009 and will be housed this year at the BSP.

Sanjiv Vohra, Citi country officer for the Philippines, represented the Citi Foundation during the signing of the deed of donation to the BSP, together with Philippine Business for Social Progress executive director Rafael Lopa and Museo Pambata executive director Maricel Montero.

Vohra said financial education should not be taken lightly by parents.

"Financial education should not be underestimated. Even at a young age, it is important to start a conversation with our children on how they can become wise savers, careful spenders and smart consumers. So, we are very grateful that our long-time partner in advocating financial literacy, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, will continue and develop what we have started with ‘Money Matters for Kids!,’" said Vohra.

The exhibit aims to educate both kids and parents the value of saving at an early age.

According to BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr., "This exhibit will be a great help in enriching our financial literacy initiatives and we look forward to transporting it to different cities, municipalities and provinces around the country. Being involved in financial education is a process, a long-term investment."

"Our taking over ‘Money Matters for Kids!’ is certainly in line with our advocacy and we will pursue its thrust to educate children about the values of money for them to have good financial decisions," Tetangco said.

"Money Matters for Kids!" introduces money concepts to children through different sections and fun activities.

They can learn how to identify authentic bills in "Spot the Difference," develop their budgeting skills at the mock grocery store, and get familiar with bank transactions through the child-friendly automated teller machine (ATM).

The exhibit will run until Oct. 29, 2011, after which the BSP will take it around the country as part of its financial education campaign.