The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will conduct a one-day information seminar on microfinance on Monday, March 29, 2004 at the Queen Margarette Hotel in Lucena City. This seminar is part of a series of information seminars that the BSP is conducting in strategic regions of the country to promote the development of sustainable microfinance operations and institutions. The seminar in Lucena City is the ninth in this series of seminars that was launched last year.
The objective is to increase interest and knowledge of microfinance by existing and current practitioners. The end goal is to make microfinance services accessible to a larger number of entrepreneurial poor to help alleviate poverty and improve their quality of life. Microfinance is BSP's flagship program for poverty alleviation and the BSP has taken significant strides to promote its sustainable and viable practice within the banking sector.
The Lucena City seminar is open to the following: 1) those interested in engaging in microfinance, 2) those that are already engaged in microfinance (whether cooperatives or NGOs) and want to formalize their operations through the establishment of a bank, and 3) those that already have microfinance operations and want to learn more about microfinance to improve their operations. The presentations will cater to the information needs of these different sets of audience as it will be both technical and practical in nature.
The BSP officials who will serve as resource persons at the seminar are: Monetary Board Member Antonino L. Alindogan, Jr., Managing Director Ricardo P. Lirio, and Microfinance Consultant Mr. Eduardo C. Jimenez. Officers from the National Credit Council (Department of Finance), Director Joselito Almario and Dr. Piedad Geron, will also be at the seminar. Ms. Dolores Torres, president of the successful CARD Bank and Ms. Ellen Metica of Bangko Kabayan will share their bank’s microfinance experiences as well as best practices and success stories. These two banks are both from the Southern Tagalog Region.
The Southern Tagalog Region already has several successful microfinance institutions and so the BSP expects a strong attendance of about 150 institutions from the banking, cooperative and NGO sectors. The seminar will be a good venue to discuss various operational and policy issues that will accelerate the development of the microfinance industry in the country.
BSP's advocacy has resulted in a progressive increase in the number of sustainable financial institutions providing microfinance services, as follows:
- To date, there are 4 microfinance oriented rural banks (CARD Bank, Vision Bank and Banco ng Masa, Xavier Tibod Bank) and 2 microfinance oriented thrift banks (Opportunity Microfinance Bank and Microenterpirse Bank)
- There are 116 other rural and cooperative rural banks with some level of microfinance operations
- These banks are reaching nearly 500,000 microentrepreneurs
- In addition, more and more formal financial institutions are moving to engage in microfinance while informal and unregulated institutions are moving toward formalization.
For further information, please call BSP's Lucena Branch Office at (042) 710-3175.