MABS and Globe Telecom Proposal Qualifies for Bill and Melinda Gates CGAP Technology Program
A concept paper prepared by MABS and Globe Telecom subsidiary G-Xchange (GXI) – which outlines the expansion and rollout of mobile banking applications to microfinance clients of MABS participating banks (PBs) – has been selected for the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) Technology Program support. The proposal was one of the nine selected from more than 70 project ideas submitted by organizations from 38 countries.
Sylvia Mathews, President of the Global Development Program at the Gates Foundation, stated that, “… supporting pilots with new technologies that have the power to dramatically change the business model of delivering financial services, we can help expand access to financial services for hundreds of millions of poor people.
CGAP’s Technology Program will conduct research, test experiments, and work with regulators, microfinance institutions, telecommunications companies, banks, and technology vendors to build knowledge on branchless banking.
MABS and GXI’s proposal aims to build rural bank’s capacity to assimilate, implement, and market new mobile phone banking applications, as well as expand the mobile banking ecosystem. The project aims to extend mobile phone banking services to 150,000 low-income Filipinos across the Philippines. The mobile phone banking applications which will utilize Globe Telecom’s G-Cash electronic money platform will convert mobile phones into “virtual wallets” for receiving and paying loans, depositing and withdrawing money, sending and receiving remittances, purchasing and selling goods and services and making bills payments.
To date, MABS, GXI, and 38 rural banks have developed, tested, and rolled out three new mobile phone banking applications: the microloan repayment service, Text-A-Payment; the remote deposit-taking service, Text-A-Deposit; and the payroll service Text-A-Sweldo (Text-A-Salary).
CGAP technology expert Gautam Ivatury points out that, “…cell phones have become the first communications technology in history to have more users in poor countries than rich ones,” a fact that is leading many in the banking industry to ask: “Why can’t we bank the world’s poor using the phones in their pockets?”