RBAP-MABS trains another set of rural banks to offer Housing Microfinance services

More rural banks are now preparing to offer housing microfinance (HMF) services as RBAP-MABS trains its third batch of bankers on market research for the HMF loan product. Twenty-five (25) participants from 9 rural banks interested in developing housing microfinance services for their clients attended the training held on August 25-27 in Mallig, Isabela.

Held as a collaborative effort of the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program and its certified service providers, Punla sa Tao Foundation and Microfinance Innovation Center for Resource and Alternatives (MICRA), the training was initiated by Ms. Praxedes Ignacio, President of the Northeast Luzon Microfinance Council.

The rural banks and microfinance institutions represented in the training were Rural Bank of Mabitac, Philippine Rural Banking Corp. (PR Bank), Mallig Plains Rural Bank, Agri-Business Rural Bank, Cagayan Valley Cooperative Bank, Rural Bank of Luna (Kalinga-Apayao), North Pacific Banking Corp. (a Rural Bank), Rural Bank of Maddela and Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives.

While the focus of the training was on conducting market research to prepare for housing microfinance services, also it also included updates on cash flow analysis for the benefit of the trainees. Cashflow-based lending is at the heart of the RBAP-MABS Approach and allows banks to more appropriately determine the debt capacity of their clients.

The participants received training on the tools for market research with hands-on practice on survey data gathering, processing and analyzing. “It’s a very engaging, informative and helpful workshop for our bank, especially the market research tips,” Ms. Kimberly Cabbigat (Agri-Business Rural Bank) said after the training workshop. The participants reinforced this statement as they further asserted that the workshop helped them with hands-on experiences in analyzing market research data collected in the field.

Mr. Caloy Pasion, the Executive Vice-President of PR Bank shared, “I am happy to say that I appreciate and thanked the facilitators as the training provided very interesting topics and helped get my staff involved.”

The training event is the first module for banks planning to develop and offer housing microfinance services. HMF is a new service that banks are now actively pursuing after the issuance of BSP Circular 678 early this year.  The participants will now work over the next month in conducting their own market research for their banks. After this research, the participants will again gather to participate in the second module for the housing microfinance product development course, where the participants will prepare their business plans, strategies and operation manuals.

The RBAP-MABS Program is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As of June 2010, RBAP-MABS participating banks have already disbursed more than 1,665 housing microfinance loans totaling more than PhP 52.04 million.