Improving Core Banking Systems to Improve Branchless Banking Services – Lessons from Cantilan Bank

This is the fourth of a four part series of articles about the RBAP-MABS National Roundtable 2012 Conference panel session entitled “Using New Channels to Expand Microfinance Services.”

Cantilan Bank’s Head of Strategic Management, Melvin Yu, shared how the bank is using new technologies, including mobile banking, to accelerate branchless banking services for their clients.

From 1980 to 1998, Cantilan Bank basically maintained all bank records manually and it was only in 1999 when the bank shifted to an automated reporting system. In 2005, the bank installed the RB2000, a banking software program developed and supported by USAID …

Lessons from a Vegetable Farmer

We found Mr. Joel Tormis and Mrs. Jeannie Tormis in their farm tending their fruit bearing bitter cucumber (ampalaya) plants and rows of newly sprouting cucumber plants. Along with microfinance Specialist, Mark Guillermo, and Officers from the Cantilan Bank Tagum branch, we had just come from another location along a river embankment where the couple had planted several long rows of cucumber plants.

We got our education from Mr. Tormis and his wife on a few things about raising vegetables and how cash flow generated from vegetables helps smoothen their income flows.

Mrs. Tormis shared that cucumber plants start generating …

Mobile Phone Banking and New Technologies: Providing New Channels to Serve Clients Better, Faster, and 24/7

Alternative ways of delivering banking services are changing the way rural banks are servicing their clients. Not only that, these innovations are also helping the Philippine Government reach families at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

During the 2011 RBAP-MABS National Roundtable Conference, rural banks shared how technology has been useful to them in expanding microfinance services.  As of May 2011, more than 160,000 rural bank clients have processed more than PhP10 billion (US$220 million) in mobile phone banking transactions via the GCASH platform.

Banking practices have been evolving and expanding coverage geographically, as well as in terms of network, …

The Power of Savings – Rural Miners Open their First Savings Accounts

From Butuan City going north towards Surigao Norte is the town of Tubod, where mining has become a major source of employment to local residents and those in the outlying towns. Hired by labor sub-contractors of the mining company there, the number of miner-laborers peaks during the dry season and declines during the rainy season. The mining site is about five kilometers away from the Cantilan Bank Tubod Branch, which started its operations in 2005.

As is the practice in the mining industry, mining companies operating in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur outsource their labor requirements to sub-contractors. …

Text-A-Withdrawal Makes Access to Mobile Money Easier

Mr. Archiebald “Archie” Beldad owns a pharmacy located in the town center of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur located in rural northeastern Mindanao. As a registered client of Cantilan Bank, a participating bank under the Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program, Archie began using GCASH for business in March 2007. He purchases and sells GCASH in small amounts and accepts GCASH as payment for his goods. He has a good credit record with the bank where he has been maintaining a deposit account for several years. Archie also uses the convenience of the Text-A-Withdrawal facility to withdraw from his deposit …

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 …

Mobile phone banking merchant partners help ease banking in Surigao

A growing number of store owners are collaborating with rural banks and connecting to the GCASH network from Cantilan to Butuan City and across the region. These store owners are providing cash-in and cash-out services to support mobile phone banking services as well as mobile money transfer in these areas.

The partnership between RBAP-MABS and G-XChange, Inc. (GXI), Globe Telecom’s wholly owned subsidiary, has helped develop and implement mobile phone banking applications and m-commerce services for rural banks and their clients.  Based on a secure GCASH menu, mobile phone banking clients of accredited rural banks can receive loans, make payments …

Accounts of Housing Microfinance Clients

During a visit to Cantilan Bank, a team of MABS employees had the opportunity to observe first-hand how housing microfinance loans have impacted the bank’s clients.  Many microfinance clients own their homes, and often have a need to make incremental repairs or improvements using whatever funds they may have saved over time if they have no access to credit.   Housing microfinance loans generally mirror the way low-income households build or improve their homes in the countryside, which follow a progressive building approach.  Clients often build a foundation then the walls, then add roofing, and include water, sanitation, and electricity, step-by-step. …