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Protect Your Future: Be a Wise Saver

Saving – that which starts as a habit then eventually becomes a way of life. The key to wealth-building is not about how much money you earn, but how much money you save. Perhaps it should be noted that it is also about where you save. Indeed, when you save in banks, you are not only protecting yourself by safeguarding your hard-earned money, but also contributing to nation-building. By saving in banks, depositors participate in the productive flow of funds in the economy as bank deposits are used to generate investments and capital as well as fund activities that promote economic and inclusive growth.

In the last 54 years, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) has been protecting the deposits in the banking system through its mandates of insuring bank deposits, mitigating risks to the deposit insurance system, and liquidating closed banks to expedite payment of uninsured deposits to depositors and creditors.

The protection provided by PDIC contributed to the increase in depositor confidence in the banking system as evidenced by the steady growth in total deposits and the number of deposit accounts. From December 2015 to December 2016, total deposits grew by 14% to more than PHP10 trillion, while deposit accounts increased by 6% to almost 54 million accounts. To sustain the growth and strength of the banking system, the PDIC encourages the depositing public to not only continue saving in banks, but also to be wise, informed and vigilant savers – capable of protecting themselves from financial scams. When faced with potential scams or offers that seem unrealistic, the safest course of action is to exercise caution and simply walk away. Sadly, financial scams abound, including scams involving deposit insurance.

The goal of scammers is to steal money or anything of value from unsuspecting individuals or groups by any means possible, often through deceit – promises of lottery winnings or raffle prizes or anything of value. The first step to scam is contact – usually conducted through a phone call or text, but may also be through e-mails, social media or other similar forms. In order to thrive, the scam has to have a fraudulent scheme with “hard-to-believe” value that the victim may find difficult to resist. Scam victims are made to believe that the caller or texter is someone of authority or influence – a lawyer, a manager or supervisor, a director or CEO, a politician or celebrity – who persuade the victims to send money via remittance services for “deposit insurance purposes” or some other fabricated reason. The unsuspecting victims, believing that they are about to receive a huge amount of money in exchange for giving away a relatively smaller amount, are easily enticed into following what the scammers tell them to do. Sadly, victims only realize that they have been conned after they have given away money that they will most likely not get back at all.

This year’s theme to observe the 15th Depositor Protection and Awareness Week (DPAW) (June 16 – 22), “Protect your future: Be A Wise Saver” highlights the importance of being vigilant and discerning in safeguarding one’s hard-earned money, and ensuring a financially secure future.

It is important to remember that deposit insurance of up to PHP500,000 per depositor only covers deposit accounts maintained in banks. The account can be single or joint, savings or checking, in Philippine peso or in a foreign currency. More importantly, depositors are not required to pay a fee for deposit insurance coverage.

Because deposit insurance only covers deposit products in banks, other bank products such as investments and trust accounts and fraudulent accounts emanating from unsafe and unsound banking practices, money laundering, illegal and unlawful services are not insured. Additionally, electronic money or e-money are not deposit accounts, hence not insured by PDIC.

While many fall victim to scam, this is a situation that can be avoided if only people are informed, vigilant, cautious and discerning. Knowing what to look out for and what to do helps us protect ourselves. Information, vigilance and discernment enable us to make financially responsible decisions. We need to pay attention when we receive offers that are too good to be true. We need to be a step ahead of the scammers.

PDIC believes that one way to be a step ahead is to know the 7 Habits of a Wise Saver. As part of its advocacy to educate Filipinos about wise saving and the benefits and limitations of deposit insurance, the PDIC has been promoting the 7 habits of a Wise Saver through the Be a Wise Saver (BAWS) campaign. The campaign has been on-going since 2009 and is now focused on private and public sector employees who are members of the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS); and in conduct of briefings for members of the financially vulnerable sector like retirees, elderly and senior citizens, among others.

Information and education are key to being financially informed and a financially literate citizenry contributes to ensuring a healthy and stable banking system, no matter the changes and challenges the future brings.

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PDIC is a government instrumentality created in
1963 by virtue of Republic Act 3591, as amended,
to insure the deposits of all banks. PDIC exists to
protect depositors by providing deposit insurance coverage for the depositing public and help promote financial stability
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