Pandemic disrupts Pinoys saving, Lending and insurance behavior

Many Filipinos have experienced drastic financial challenges since the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic as they lost their jobs or sources of income due to the early lockdowns.

The pandemic also accelerated digitalization, making it easier for Filipinos to buy their needs and wants online through online shopping. How, indeed has the pandemic altered the Filipino behavior on saving, lending and insurance, if any?

CIMB Bank Philippines chief executive officer Vijay Manoharan said more Filipinos have embraced digital banking as they now do most off their banking activities via digital processes.

They do such routines to avoid going out to mitigate the risks of getting infected by the virus while banks and other financial institutions strengthen their online presence.

“In terms of savings behavior, their behavior pattern, and their propensity to put their money away has likewise changed significantly, as we also encourage and teach consumers the importance of saving and starting to build deposits for them in the future,” Manoharan said during a press conference on CIMB’s partnership with insurance firm Pru Life UK Tuesday.

With digital banks like CIMB, Manoharan said Filipinos’ access to lending has also improved during the pandemic.

“On the lending side, we see Filipinos getting access to credit and using these quite responsibly,” he added.

Manoharan said they are optimistic about the Philippine market as it adds close to 2 million customers more in a year despite the pandemic.

For Pru Life UK president and chief executive officer Eng Teng Wong, financial literacy among Filipinos has also tremendously increased.

As reflected by their portfolio, he said their number of customers in the Philippines grew “high double-digit” during the pandemic, adding it took some time before to reach this growth in number of customers.

“A lot of customers have become more aware and conscious to observe caution and self-protection amid the pandemic,” he added.

Pru Life UK senior vice president and chief customer marketing officer Allan Tumbaga said there has been a heightened interest in protection even among the young generation. 

Tumbaga said Filipinos have developed higher interest in insurance as they want to get protected amid the threats of the pandemic.