UN Special Advocate Queen Máxima Commends GCash for Helping Advance Financial Inclusion in the Philippines

From The Adobo Tech 

H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is visiting the Philippines this week in her role as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), has commended GCash for its pivotal role in promoting financial inclusion in the Philippines.

She made this remark during a meeting at the headquarters of GCash in Bonifacio Global City, during the first of her three-day visit to the country.

(Left to right) Rowena Zamora, GCash Chief Strategy Officer, Winsley Bangit, GCash Vice President Group Head of New Businesses, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Corporation Director, H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, GCash President and CEO Martha Sazon, Mynt Chairman of the Board and Globe Group President and CEO Ernest Cu, Fuse Lending President and CEO Tony Isidro, Mayani and Co-Founder CEO JT Solis, GCash Chief Compliance Officer Atty. Cef Sison.

UNSGSA Queen Máxima shared that when she last visited the Philippines in 2015, only 17% of the Philippine population used mobile financial services. But fast forward to today, The Special Advocate said many Filipinos now have access to financial services, which was helped in part by GCash.

In 2015, three years into the launch of the GCash app, it only had around 5 million users. By the end of 2023, 94 million individuals have tried GCash, roughly translating to 8 out of every 10 Filipinos.

H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, commended GCash for helping drive financial inclusion growth in the Philippines since her last visit in 2015 by developing products that meet the needs of Filipinos.

However, she noted that there’s still a long way to go for the Philippines to establish a truly inclusive financial system. To achieve this, UNSGSA Queen Máxima emphasized that public-private partnerships are essential in making sure all Filipinos can access and use much-needed quality financial services, which can help improve their financial health and resilience.

Her Majesty visited the GCash office on May 21, where she was welcomed by Martha Sazon, the president and CEO of GCash, Ernest Cu, chairman of GCash holding company Mynt and president and CEO of Globe Group, as well as Fernando Zobel de Ayala, director of Ayala Corporation. Alongside leaders of GCash, other key stakeholders welcomed The Queen, as well as JT Solis, co-founder and CEO of Mayani, a key partner of GCash in offering fair lending and

financial literacy training to farming and fishing communities. Also present during the visit was Mynard Mojica of the inclusive finance advocacy unit of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas For her part, Sazon shared that GCash has been relentless in its pursuit of Finance for All. She noted that the platform has helped increase Filipinos’ access to essential financial services like savings, insurance, and lending, especially for unbanked and underserved communities.
“It’s been an honor to host Queen Maxima in our office, in her capacity as UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. We have learned a lot with our conversation with Her Majesty and we commit to continue to champion financial inclusion in the Philippines,” said Martha Sazon, president and CEO of GCash.
Based on latest data from the BSP, digital platforms have helped improve Filipinos’ access to essential financial services. In 2019, only 29% of the Philippine population had access to bank accounts. 
 
But in 2022, this figure already increased to 65%. Other financial services are also seeing increased accessibility with credit expanding from 2% in 2014 to 8% in 2021; insurance from 23% in 2019 to 51% in 2021; and investments growing from 1% in 2020 to 2% in 2021 according to date from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).