BPI Direct BanKo, IFC ink deal to aid micro-entrepreneurs


BPI Direct BanKo Inc., the microfinance arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), inked an agreement with the International Finance Corp. (IFC) to collaborate on new banking products for the self-employed micro-entrepreneurs (SEMEs).

The bank said in a statement on Monday that its president, Jerome B. Minglana signed a Memorandum of Agreement with IFC Manager for Advisory Services, Asia and Pacific, Qamar Saleem.

“We trust that the technical expertise and global experience of IFC will help BPI Direct BanKo develop and implement relevant products and services that will benefit Filipino SEMEs in the short term and in the long run,” Minglana said.

According to the statement, the MOA’s main goal is to identify additional opportunities to help self-employed micro-entrepreneurs and to implement new products and services in order to bolster the recovery from the pandemic.

Micro-businesses account for 89 percent of companies and 30 percent of jobs in the country. However, they have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 due to factors such as the lack of financing options and a heavy reliance on domestic demand.

According to a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) survey most micro, small and medium enterprises in the country lacked funds immediately after the outbreak of the virus in the country.

“The challenges in gaining access to credit for micro-entrepreneurs and in granting credit for lenders like BanKo have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. BanKo, instead of being discouraged by the developments, is even more motivated to provide financial products and services to the unbanked and underbanked by innovating and by partnering with IFC, which is also a staunch supporter of micro-entrepreneurs and women in business,” Minglana said.

“We look forward to supporting BanKo’s efforts to grow its rural footprint and customer base through capacity building in risk management and digital lending, which will help improve access to finance for Filipinos and promote a more inclusive recovery from Covid-19,” Saleem said.

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