BPI Direct BanKo (BanKo) has reached out to more self-employed, micro-entrepreneurs (SEMEs) with a day of pampering and financial resiliency training through the BanKo Palengke Caravan at the Bangkerohan Market in Davao City.
BanKo has been taking its Palengke Caravan around the Philippines to show its appreciation for its SEME clients and teach them or strengthen what they already learned about financial responsibility and discipline. For this week alone, BanKo will be conducting 50 Palengke Caravans in different cities and regions.
BanKo Enterprise Loans and Branch Network Head Rod Mabiasen said this is part of BanKo’s mission to go where people can benefit most from basic financial education and services that were previously unavailable to them.
“Our SEME partners are some of the hardest working people we’ve met, so we treated them to a morning of mani-pedis a haircuts to make them feel good and ready for the week. We also held a financial resiliency training class because it’s not enough to just make a good living. We have to learn how to save and make our money work for us over the long term. We need to lose the get-rich-quick and one-day-millionaire mentalities and understand the value of financial planning and discipline,” said Mabiasen.
BanKo SEME clients in the wellness industry offered free mobile spa and grooming services. The morning of fun and relaxation was followed by a training seminar, conducted by Mabiasen, to teach SEMEs how to live a financially-resilient life. All vendors at the market were welcome to join the training.
Many of BanKo’s clients were formerly unbanked or underbanked, and had to resort to informal lenders – who often charged usurious interest rates – to borrow capital for their businesses. To be “unbanked” means having no bank accounts to their name, while “underbanked” individuals are those who do not have sufficient access to mainstream financial services and products, and are thus often deprived of banking services such as loans.
“The Philippines is still a developing country, with 75% of its adult population remaining unbanked. Despite being able to run a profitable business, many of our SEMEs could not obtain standard bank loans because they lack awareness or proper documentation,” said Mabiasen.
To address this, BanKo has tailored its products and services to meet the needs and capabilities of Filipino
SEMEs, by easing documentary and deposit requirements for opening an account and providing specialized financial advisors to help customers navigate the loan application process.
BanKo SEME customers typically apply for NegosyoKo loans, which range from Php 25,000 to Php 300,000, with low interest rate of 2-2.3% per month. BanKo has also streamlined its processing so that eligible customers can have their loans released within three to five banking days upon submission of complete requirements, and channel the funds to growing their business.
“Financial inclusion isn’t only about bank accounts anymore. It’s also about making credit available to those who need it. BanKo’s efforts have led to meaningful growth for our customers who are now able to enjoy the services they need and deserve. We hope to do the same for more SEMEs here in Davao and other parts of Mindanao,” said Mabiasen.
Since coming under the full ownership of BPI in 2016, BanKo has grown from 10 branches to 103 branches in 2017 (with P558 million in loans) and 200 in 2018 (with P3.3 billion in loans). It will end 2019 with 300 branches, serving 91,000 clients with P7 billion in loans. Davao City has nine BanKo branches and will soon have more to serve other areas.
“We believe that a better Philippines is only possible by making life better for all Filipinos. BanKo and its parent company BPI are bringing the benefits of banking to everyone to achieve that,” said Mabiasen.