Rural Banks at the Forefront of Financial Inclusion

During his keynote speech at the Inaugural Dinner of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) last August 4, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr recalled the journey of the two institutions in pursuance of advancing the rural banking sector and expanding financial services through innovative channels to more Filipinos.

Governor Tetangco noted that only five years ago, products and services offered by rural banks were limited. The recent BSP’s Circular 678, 680 and 683 are now allowing rural banks to expand products and services to serve even more clients than ever before. These circulars recognize

Microfinance changed their lives

Malaya Business Insight – CEBU CITY—Ten years ago, Marcosa Igot and Carina Gonato were just plain housewives of factory workers. Now, together with their husbands and families, they are running their own business, earning hundred of thousands of pesos a month.

Both are recipients of microfinance loans.

From a small industry a decade ago, there are now about 202 local banks who have granted over P7.3 billion in microfinance loans to more than 1 million microentrepreneurs, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

These microentrepreneurs, in turn, have generated employment in their local communities and saved about …

Call for Nominations: Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Awards

Dear Friends and Partners,

Citi Philippines, the Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc., and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are conducting the ninth run of the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Awards, a nationwide search for outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs. The awards program aims to elevate awareness of and provide support for microfinance by recognizing outstanding microentrepreneurs.

There are two awards categories: the Masikap Award and the Maunlad Award. The Masikap Award is open to microentrepreneurs who successfully started a business that is now a reliable source of income for the family. The Maunlad Award, on the other hand, is …

How to Avoid an India-type Microfinance Crisis in the Philippines

As prologue to the BSP’s (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) National Microfinance Stakeholders Summit held on April 5, the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) with support from USAID/Philippines and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines (MCPI) jointly held a pre-summit seminar on April 4 discussing “How to Avoid an India-type Microfinance Crisis in the Philippines”.

Opening the forum, RBAP President Corazon Miller described the India microfinance crisis as “a wake-up call for microfinance practitioners in the Philippines to begin the proactive process of strengthening transparency, following consumer protection practices, improving governance, and

Options for Microinsurance Sales and Servicing

MABS Microinsurance Coordinator, Ruth Aseron shares lessons learned during the RBAP-MABS Regional Roundtable Conference 2010.

The RBAP-MABS Regional Roundtable Conferences in Manila and Davao each featured a session on Microinsurance that sought to provide participants insights on the various distribution models which rural banks are allowed to adopt.  Presented were perspectives on how rural banks should formalize its microinsurance distribution operations in compliance with the provisions of the National Regulatory Framework and with regulations issued by the Insurance Commission (IC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The session focused especially on Section 6 of the Microinsurance National Regulatory Framework, …

Important Guidelines for Rural Banks on Other Banking Offices

To our participating rural banks:

On October 14, the BSP issued Circular no. 694: Amendment of Regulations on the Establishment of Other Banking Offices and Notes to Microfinance: BSP Circular 694 (signed document).

These were shared during the recent RBAP-MABS Regional Roundtable Conferences in Manila by Ms. Pia Roman and in Davao by Ms. Rochelle Tomas. (click to view presentation)

The new guidelines dramatically expand the range of financial services that Microfinance-Oriented Other Banking Offices (MBOS) can offer including:

Accepting micro-deposits including initial deposit
Accepting check deposits of microfinance clients for collection and credit to own deposit accounts
Disbursing/releasing proceeds

BSP officers and Philippine Monetary Board member visit Green Bank and Cantilan Bank

A 12-member study group from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas(BSP) led by Monetary Board Member Juanita Amatong and Dep. Gov. Nestor Espenilla, Jr. visited Cantilan Bank and Green Bank in Butuan City from July 23-24. During the visit, the BSP engaged the officials and staff of the banks in an open dialogue concerning the challenges in their microfinance operations and the regulatory areas that could help promote sound expansion of microfinance services among rural banks. Cantilan Bank and Green Bank are both participant banks of the RBAP-MABS program, which is supported by USAID/Philippines.

At the Cantilan Bank branch in Butuan …

Cantilan Bank Celebrates 30 Years of Progressive and Excellent Community Banking Services

More than 500 attendees packed into a basketball gymnasium in Cantilan’s town square to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cantilan Bank. The gala highlighted the banks remarkable growth over the past three decades and underscored the important role microfinance services played in their success.

MABS started working with Cantilan Bank 11 years ago, when it had just three branches and 35 employees. Now, the bank is 260 employees strong with 12 branches across Surigao. The bank-wide loan portfolio grew from around P50M to P652M. The number of microfinance borrowers is 39% of Cantilan’s total borrowers with a client base …

Delegates from Pacific Islands study Philippine mobile phone banking

A joint study group of 9 members from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and the Pacific Island Central Bankers visited the Philippines on June 21-23, 2010 to learn about Philippine mobile phone banking. Specifically, they were interested in the regulatory approach adopted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for its successful implementation.

RBAP-MABS, a USAID-supported program, presented to the study group its experiences with rural banks and microfinance clients in developing and implementing its mobile phone banking initiatives using the GCASH platform. The RBAP-MABS team also shared the lessons learned over the past 5 years or so of …

Lower taxes on life insurance to boost microinsurance in the Philippines

Clients interested to access microinsurance services may now celebrate another legal development that allows for more affordable life insurance products with the recent signing of Republic Act (RA) 10001, which reduces taxes on life insurance premiums.

Under this new law, the tax rate for total premiums collected has been scaled down to 2% from the previous rate of 5% stated in Section 123 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997. The new law also provides for a revised documentary stamp tax scheme.

“It is expected that life insurance companies will reflect such reductions in the premiums … after the …