The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Microfinance Regional Advocacy Program goes to Davao City. A one-day seminar on microfinance will be held at the BSP Davao Regional Office on July 7, 2003. This seminar will discuss the basic concepts of microfinance, the various national and BSP rules and regulations, the different methodologies and best practices as well as the many success stories brought about by microfinance operations.
This seminar is part of the BSP Microfinance Regional Advocacy Program where a series of information seminars are being conducted in the strategic regions of the country to promote the development of sustainable microfinance operations and institutions. This effort aims to spread the word that microfinance is a serious business; however, if it is administered properly it is a powerful tool for poverty alleviation and is a profitable and sustainable undertaking. The end goal is to see an increase in the number of microfinance services in the country to be able to reach a larger number of entrepreneurial poor.
As part of this advocacy program, the Bangko Sentral has conducted seminars in Cebu City, San Fernando City, Iloilo City and Legaspi City. Each of these seminars was attended by over 150 institutions from the banking, cooperative and NGO sectors.
The seminar will be open to the following institutions: 1) those interested in engaging in microfinance, 2) those that are already engaged in microfinance 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 and other officials who will serve as resource persons at the seminar are: Monetary Board Member Melito S. Salazar, Jr., Director Wilfredo B. Domo-ong, Mr. Eduardo C. Jimenez, and Director Joselito Almario from the National Credit Council (Department of Finance). Mr. Guillermo Torres of the Rural Bank of Montevista and Ms. Lourdes Pineda of the Rural Bank of Santo Tomas will also present in the seminar and will share the experiences, best practices and success stories of their institution’s microfinance operations.
The Bangko Sentral has declared microfinance as its flagship program for poverty alleviation in 2000 and has since then taken significant strides in creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment for practitioners, training and capacity building within the BSP and the banking sector as well as promoting and advocating microfinance.
These efforts have shown remarkable results. To date, there are 3 microfinance oriented rural banks (CARD Bank, Vision Bank and Banco ng Masa) and 2 microfinance oriented thrift banks (Opportunity Microfinance Bank and Microenterpirse Bank) reaching over 60,000 microentrepreneurs. In addition, there are 115 rural and cooperative rural banks that have some level of microfinance operations reaching nearly 350,000 microentrepreneurs. More and more formal financial institutions are moving to engage in microfinance while informal and unregulated institutions are moving toward formalization. With the increase of sustainable financial institutions that provide microfinance services, the entrepreneurial poor are given the necessary tools to increase their economic activity and improve the quality of their lives.