Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and its microfinance arm, BPI Direct Banko, Inc. foresee an increase in lending to micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs, after the two signed a partnership deal with Philippine Guarantee Corp. (Philguarantee) on 5 August 2020. This made BPI the first bank to sign with Philguarantee.
Under the agreement, government-owned Philguarantee, who offers credit guarantee programs, will grant BPI a combined guarantee of P6.5 billion (approx. US$134m) for new and additional loans to micro entrepreneurs and SMEs who need assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This program has Philguarantee covering 50 percent of the new loans to be used as working capital by eligible SMEs.
“We are very confident that this will spur our lending to the SME sector which we’ve identified as a very vital component in the growth of the Philippine economy,” said BPI Business Banking Head Eric Luchangco. “It is a very interlinked economy, and therefore, in order for the Philippine economy as a whole to grow, the SME sector must be part of the growth as well.”
“We aim to help the microentrepreneurs get back on their feet and restart their businesses by providing easy and affordable credit, as well as provide financial advice to the microentrepreneurs as part of our mandate for financial inclusion. With BanKo as an accredited partner of the Philguarantee, the mission to help the micro-entrepreneurs, and the country overcome this pandemic, can be achieved,” said Rod Mabiasen, Head of BanKo Financial Inclusion and Microfinance Loans.
Of the P6.5 billion guarantee given by Philguarantee, BPI Business Banking, which caters to SMEs, will have an allocation of P5 billion. The rest will be allocated to BanKo.
Rosalia De Leon, National Treasurer & Alternate Chairperson Philguarantee Board, said in her remarks during the virtual signing of the memorandum of agreement that it is important to remember not to turn a blind eye to the opportunities that a crisis presents.
“For this reason, we thank the BPI Group for this occasion to join government in our ardent call to provide meaningful financial intermediation to affected businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises, to provide much needed jobs and income during this difficult period. With a strong banking presence, particularly in the microfinance segment, I am confident that with the support of BPI and BanKo, no small business will be left behind,” she said.