Banks Now Serve 1 Million Active Micro-Borrowers

Opening the 2012 National Roundtable Conference of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines – Microenterprise Access to Banking Services Program (RBAP-MABS) on June 7, 2012, Ms. Chuchi Fonacier, Managing Director of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), cited a set of impressive statistics on how banks in the Philippines have now expanded access to microfinance services.

In her keynote address before the participants of the conference, she cited BSP data on the lending side: 190 banks with microfinance operations are reaching about one million active borrowers with an outstanding loan portfolio of PhP 7.2 billion (US$170 million). In addition to …

RBAP-MABS Prepares Rural Banks for the New Effective Interest Rate Calculation Rules

The first of a series of seminar workshops to prepare banks for the new rules on effective interest rate calculations was held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Complex at Pasay City last March 8, 2012 to discuss the new regulations and what banks must prepare for. Attended by participants from fifteen (15) rural banks, the workshop was conducted by the United States Agency for International Development-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program, together with the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (RBRDFI). Representatives from the BSP were on hand to answer …

Pricing Transparency Workshop

The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) and the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (RBRDFI) with support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will hold a series of seminars on the new pricing transparency or Circular 730. Seminars for the month of March will be at the following dates and places:

  • March 8 – the Executive Business Center, Visayas Room, 5/F Multistory Bldg., BSP, FB Harrion Street, Pasay City
  • March 14 – Holiday Plaza, Cebu City
  • March 21 – Gov. Licaros Hall, RBAP Building, Intramuros, Manila
  • March 29 – Lenox Hotel, Rizal

BSP’s New Rules on Interest Rates Promote Transparency

The new rules by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (Circular No. 730, Series of 2011) that seek to promote transparency in loan prices by requiring all banks to charge interest based on the outstanding balance of a loan at the beginning of an interest period, and to quote the effective interest rates of loan products in their loan documents and marketing materials. The new rules will take into effect on 1 July 2012.

According to BSP, loan pricing transparency will protect consumers, promote healthy competition, and enable smooth and orderly functions of the entire financial system. This new policy …

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

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

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 …