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 …

Conditional Cash Transfer, Rural Banks, and Mobile Money Transfer: Observations and Reflections

In a scene being played out in various places in the country, some of them more remote, over 400 households from four barangays in the municipality of Sogod, Cebu received financial support from the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) on May 4, 2011.A 5-year program of the Philippine Government, 4Ps provides conditional cash grants for the poorest families in identified municipalities as financial aid for the family’s health and for children’s education. Aside from disbursements through the Land Bank of the Philippines, conditional cash transfers (CCT) are being disbursed too with the involvement of mobile money remittance channels such as rural banks and their mobile phone banking facility.

On May 4, I witnessed the day-long process of how atotal of PhP562,700 ($13,070) was disbursed to 414 beneficiaries composed mainly of women.It was the second cash grant for this group of …

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 City, Ret. Gen. Charles Hotchkiss, chair of Cantilan Bank’s executive committee, briefed the group on the bank’s microfinance operations and its agriculture microfinance loan product performance. Cantilan Bank is one of the pioneers in implementing the RBAP-MABS Approach to agriculture microfinancing, which began in 2005.

The study group visited Cantilan …