The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will conduct a one-day information seminar on microfinance on September 5, 2003 in Angeles City. This seminar will discuss the basic concepts of microfinance, the policy environment, the different methodologies and best practices as well as the many success stories of lives that have been helped through microfinance operations.
This seminar is part of a series of information seminars that the BSP is conducting 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 information program, the Bangko Sentral has conducted seminars in Cebu City, San Fernando City, La Union, Iloilo City, Legaspi City and, most recently, Davao City. Each of these seminars was attended by over 150 institutions from the banking, cooperative and NGO sectors. This program has been successful as more and more are becoming aware of the many benefits microfinance can bring. As an immediate result of the seminars, institutions are expressing their interest in learning more about microfinance and eventually engaging in microfinance operations. The seminars have also been a good venue to discuss various policy issues that will help the development of the microfinance industry in the country.
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 Fe B. Barin, Managing Director Ricardo P. Lirio and 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. Mr. Josiais dela Cruz, president of the 1st microfinance-oriented thrift bank in the Philippines, Opportunity Microfinance Bank, and Ms. Ellen Metica of Bangko Kabayan 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.