First rural bank Small Claims Court case successfully settled

January 05, 2009 – The first small claims case hearing involving a rural bank in the Philippines was successfully conducted in twenty minutes and the case decided on in one-and-a-half hours in a Small Claims Court (SCC) in Davao. The case involved a microfinance client with an outstanding loan of Php 18,000 (from an original loan of Php 40,000) from a rural bank; the client agreed to settle the amount with the bank within the next eight months.

The SCC concept originated in the United States and was formulated for adoption in the Philippines with assistance from United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) and the American Bar Association (ABA)-Rule of Law Initiative (Asia Division). The project is currently being tested in pilot courts all over the country. Recently, the USAID-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines – Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program collaborated with the Rule of …

Mobile Phone Banking Services Expand Business Opportunities in Surigao del Sur

Loida Llamas owns and operates Pawnshop de Madrid – Madrid, Surigao del Sur’s “homegrown” pawnshop. On the side, she makes and sells trinkets and fashion accessories. Loida, a depositor of Cantilan Bank, decided to accept GCASH from her customers in March 2007; she now uses the mobile phone banking services of the bank for practically all of her business transactions. Loida gets the raw materials for her trinkets from Manila-based suppliers. She now pays them through Text-A-Payment instead of making inter-branch bank deposits. Her sub-dealers likewise remit their sales purchases by sending her GCASH. Loida also sends money phone-to-phone to relatives via Text-A-Remittance.

Loida finds the mobile phone banking services offered by Cantilan Bank  “very convenient”. Through Text-A-Withdrawal, she can withdraw from her deposit account whenever she needs to cash-in or “load” GCASH unto her electronic wallet.  Loida prefers to keep enough GCASH balance so that she can serve customers …

Making the world go round thru caps, food, and music

MEET OUR CLIENT: Estela Lagunzad

What would a mother give to feed her family’s hunger for food, knowledge, and music?

Estela Lagunzad and her family have taken root in Tacloban City, Leyte, very near the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center where her husband used to work as a minimum-waged security guard. Besides personally taking care of the family, she had to man their sari-sari (retail) store and, on the side, had sold Natasha, Tupperware, and Avon products. Mindful of their children’s future, she had to find ways to augment her husband’s low income so they can better provide for their children’s needs.

In 2003, the Rural Bank of Dulag (RB Dulag) opened a branch in Tacloban City. Through the bank’s microfinance services, Mrs. Lagunzad was provided with a Php 15,000 loan (US$300) in January 2004. She used the amount as capital in putting up a home-based eatery catering to hospital …

Profits Can Come from Small Packages

Eight years ago, Mrs. Elma Garan and her husband both lost their jobs. Subsequently, to support their five children, they started a business of delivering bread and fish to sari-sari (small grocery) stores and fish stalls in the Santo Tomas Public Market in Mindanao. The couple barely made a profit from their business, since they did not have the means to increase their inventory and sell to more customers. “We knew we had to do something so our business would grow, but we did not have enough money to expand. Our earnings were just enough for our family’s needs”, recounts Mrs. Garan.

To supplement their income, Mrs. Garan decided to start another business. Aware of the local practice of buying tingi-tingi (repackaged small retail items), she decided to buy goods in bulk and repack them in smaller quantities sized for household consumption. Housewives on a tight budget frequently look for …

Cooking Up Business Success


Until recently, the income of the Pido family had been enough for their needs. Mr. and Mrs. Pido both had regular jobs at Mindanao State University – which is in Marawi City, in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Mrs. Amina Pido was an office clerk while her husband worked as a security guard. But with all their seven children reaching school age and enrolled in school, the additional, mounting expenses for their children’s education forced Mrs. Pido to look for a way to earn additional income. Being a long-time university employee, Mrs. Pido knew that students were always on the lookout for affordable meals. Because her family lived inside the university campus, she decided to set up a carinderia (small restaurant) that would cater to students.

Mrs. Pido bought several tables and chairs, converted a portion of her front porch into a dining area, …