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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | editor, Singapore

BDO nabs Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Philippines in the ABF Awards

The company won for its financial education program for overseas Filipino workers.

BDO Unibank has received the award for the Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Philippines in the 15th year of the Retail Banking Awards, presented by Asian Banking & Finance magazine.

The event honours the most outstanding banks and financial institutions that have introduced groundbreaking products and services that empowered them to successfully adapt with the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

BDO showcased a truly exceptional feat in promoting financial education in the Philippines through the launch of its financial education program for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) last year, in partnership with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), as well as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (Central Bank of the Philippines).

According to a media release from BSP, financial literacy remains low in the Philippines with people lacking basic knowledge to make sound financial decisions. Surveys have shown that respondents only adequately answered three out of seven questions on topics like basic numeracy, compounding interest and inflation.

Responding to the need for financial education in the country, BDO Unibank’s corporate social responsibility arm BDO Foundation advocated financial inclusion and helped improve financial education in the country, particularly for migrant workers.

BDO Foundation—together with OWWA and BSP—developed three financial education videos and training modules for OFWs and their families which cover lessons on saving, financial planning, debt management, investing, entrepreneurship and avoiding scams. The foundation is currently producing three additional videos on “lifestyle inflation”, needs vs. wants, responsible use of credit, insurance and retirement planning.

The videos are shown in Philippine consulates all over the world. Subject matter experts conduct training sessions all over the Philippines for OFWs before they leave the country. Moreover, BDO Foundation and its partners produced an instructor’s manual, which serves as a speaker guide designed to sustain the high quality of training sessions.

Since its kick-off, the financial education program has already benefited an estimated 2.3 million OFWs.

Furthermore, the foundation also partnered with the Asian Development Bank and BSP for the development of a monitoring and evaluation system for financial education programs, enabling partners to identify opportunities for growth, measure progress and evaluate effectiveness.

Through this on-going initiative, BDO Foundation has helped provide financial education for migrant workers for them to achieve financial independence. By advocating financial responsibility among migrant workers and recipients of remittances, the foundation promotes financial inclusion, contributes to the development of a financially literate citizenry, and supports nation-building.

The program impacts the corporate equity of BDO, nurturing its reputation as a staunch advocate of financial inclusion. Amidst the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative gains significance as the Philippines remains one of the top recipients of remittances next only to India, China, and Mexico.

The Retail Banking Awards, presented by Asian Banking & Finance magazine, was held via video conferencing throughout the whole month of August.

This year’s nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Liew Nam Soon, ASEAN Managing Partner, Markets at Ernst and Young; Ho Kok-Yong, Partner, Leader and Financial Services SEA & Singapore at Deloitte & Touche LLP; John Dovaston, APAC Financial Services Leader at PwC; Chia Tek Yew, Head of Financial Services Advisory at KPMG, Gabriel Seow,
Audit Partner at BDO LLP, Singapore; Justin Tan, APAC Financial Services Partner at Mazars; Sean Choo, APAC Financial Services Partner at Mazars.

If you would like to join the 2021 awards and be acclaimed for your bank’s groundbreaking products and services, please email Julie Anne Nuñez at

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