Rural Banks Increasingly Accessing the BAP-Credit Bureau

Over the last five years, the number of rural banks utilizing the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) Credit Bureau’s Negative File Information System (NFIS) has grown almost five-fold with seventy-seven (77) rural banks now enrolled and fifty-one (51) rural banks actively using the system. There has also been an almost nine-fold increase in the number of credit inquiries by rural banks.

There are several reasons for the dramatic increase in the number of rural banks enrolled in the BAP-CB and the increase in the number of inquiries.  One factor is the reduced fee to both enroll and access the system. Rural banks may now enroll in the BAP-CB for free and only need to pay a PhP 5 fee per credit inquiry.  BAP-CB also provides free training for all subscribers. The only requirement is that all subscribers share and update their negative files with the NFIS.

Another factor is …

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 St., Dagupan City, Pangasinan
  • March 30 – Hotel Ariana, National Highway, Barrio Paringao, Bauang, La Union

Why reinvent the wheel? Use existing tools that work

Microinsurance Innovation Facility – As more institutions enter microinsurance, it is efficient to make use of existing tools that work, in order to minimize the resources needed to develop successful tools. An encouraging example comes from Seguros Futuro.

When Seguros Futuro wanted to expand its education efforts it decided to incorporate insurance education in the annual general assemblies of its cooperatives. Instead of designing a new educational game, Seguros Futuro adapted an existing game called Treasure Pot, developed by the Micro Insurance Academy, which had already been tried and tested in different countries.

In Seguros Futuros’ adapted game, each participant receives ten candies and draws a card that represents an emergency or good fortune. In the first round, participants who draw an emergency card must pay the indicated number of candies, and participants who draw a good fortune card retain their candies. In the second round, participants have the option …

A Dream Home Come True

After getting married in 2001, Mr. Joel and Mrs. Erlyn Espinosa built their small nipa hut in Balasan, Iloilo to start a family. Mr. Joel is a son of a small palay farmer and makes a living as a carpenter for house construction. Years of labor as a carpenter are now showing in his slouched posture. Mr. Joel’s nine siblings somehow managed to live auspicious lives despite poor family background. Three of his brothers work as ship crew, while a sister married up and now settles in another province. Meanwhile, his other sisters managed to migrate to Canada to escape poverty in Balasan. With a serious, reflective look in his eyes, Mr. Joel said: “Of all my siblings, I am the only one living a hard up life.”

Mr. Joel’s wife, Ms. Erlyn, only finished elementary school, a common educational achievement among poor women in Balasan. Despite this, …

RBAP-MABS Microinsurance Partners Recognized at Gabi ng Parangal

To culminate Microinsurance Month, the Insurance Commission spearheaded an awarding ceremony themed “Gabi ng Parangal at Pasasalamat sa mga Tagapagtaguyod ng Microinsurance” to recognize organizations promoting microinsurance in the country. The awarding ceremony was held on January 31 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Four partner insurance providers and two participating banks of the United States Agency for International Development-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program were among those recognized during the ceremony. Country Bankers Life Insurance Corporation, Mapfre Insular, Pioneer Insurance, and Philippine Prudential Life Inc., were cited as outstanding life and non-life commercial companies while the Rural Bank of Talisayan and Katipunan Bank were recognized for their mutual benefit associations.

Since 2008, RBAP-MABS has been collaborating with rural banks and the regulatory institutions to improve access to insurance options of low-income households. To do this, RBAP-MABS works with the insurance-providers …

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 income “…35-40 days from planting and we continue harvesting every other day for a period of one month”. She added that “Vegetables are a good source of regular income flow for us, and we have no difficulty paying monthly our loan with Cantilan Bank. It is important, however, to program …

The Healing Touch

With four children to support and without a stable income, it was an everyday struggle to make ends meet for Mr. Danelito Castro and his wife. They were so hard-pressed that they could hardly pay basic monthly bills that amounted to a few hundred pesos (less than US$10). Faced with these circumstances, Mr. Castro set his mind on establishing a small business – one that he could immediately start with minimal capital. The couple decided to manufacture herbal products, since they both had extensive knowledge and background on the medicinal properties of trees. To differentiate their product from the wide range of herbal products already available in the market, they used genuine extracts from 49 kinds of trees with medicinal properties. With an initial capital of PhP 3,000 (US $68), they were able to manufacture and produce the first batch of Millennium Herbal Oil using empty liquor bottles as containers.…

Study shows SMS Reminders Boost Ontime Loan Payments

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) led by Professor Dean Karlan of Yale University, in partnership with United States Agency for International Development-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program,  conducted a study to test the effectiveness of using text messages (SMS) for loan payment reminder. Updates on this study were shared with RBAP-MABS on January 20, 2012.

In partnership with two RBAP-MABS participating banks, Green Bank Inc. and the Rural Bank of Mabitac, IPA studied the impact of SMS reminders with 1,259 first time borrowers. The study was designed to investigate the importance of the SMS’s timing, framing and personalization of reminders sent to borrowers.  For a period of sixteen (16) months between January 2009 and April 2010, 840 randomly selected loan clients received SMS reminders in their local dialect reminding them to pay their loans.

IPA found that the most important factor leading to …

RBAP-MABS Participates in the Microinsurance Advocacy Training

In celebration of Microinsurance Month, a three-day Training on Microinsurance Advocacy (TOMA) was held in Tagaytay City from January 18-20. The Microinsurance Teams of the United States Agency for International Development-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) and RBAP-Rural Bankers Research Development Foundation Inc. participated.  The event was the third in a series of workshops under the Financial Literacy Roadshow on Microinsurance Advocacy that will be conducted in sixteen (16) regions of the country. Collaborators include German International Cooperation-Microinsurance Innovations Program for Social Security (GIZ-MIPSS), Insurance Commission, National Credit Council (NCC) of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction Program of the Asian Development Bank.

The event sought to enhance the knowledge and skills of participants to become advocates of microinsurance in the Philippines. Thirty-eight (38) individuals from various national government agencies, intermediaries, donor agencies, support institutions, local government units and …

The Right Recipe for Success


Back in 2009, Carina Gonato was a simple housewife who tried to make ends meet by selling consigned chicken lumpia around her neighbourhood. Upon the suggestion of her neighbours and recognizing that she could potentially earn more, she decided to make and sell her own chicken lumpia. It took her three months to perfect the recipe. After numerous taste tests, gathering her neighbors’ feedback, and tweaking the recipe, she finally gave it a go initially selling her lumpia inside the Mactan Export Processing Zone compound. Through word of mouth, her lumpia gained popularity and soon, orders started pouring in. She named her budding business Nateck’s Lumpia House, after her husband.

Initially, she did not have problems with sourcing her chicken supply because she only used up 5 kilos per day. But as her orders increased, she needed to have additional capital to catch up …