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BPI opens 100th BanKo in Valencia

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) opened Tuesday its 100th Direct BanKO, the bank’s microfinance arm in Valencia, Bukidnon.

Direct BanKo in Valencia is the 20th branch in Mindanao.

"What you are seeing today is the 100th branch and frankly this is something that BPI is thinking about 10 to 15 years already. For a bank that says our responsibility is not just to make profit and also to understand our customers and participate fully in the broadest aspect of the Philippine growth," said Joseph Albert Gotuaco, chair of BPI Direct BanKo Inc (BanKo) and executive vice president and head of BPI Retail Banking.

Gotuaco said BPI wanted to be part of the country’s growth especially in the provincial areas where non-formal markets grow.

BPI Direct BanKo has already served over 10,000 self-employed micro-entrepreneurs (SEMEs) nationwide and released a total of PHP550 million in loans. It is targeting to expand up to 200 branches nationwide this year to serve 20,000 more SEMEs. BPI will be opening 14 branches more this year.

At the newly-opened BanKo branch, BPI is offering a relationship based on cash flow.

"BanKo is all about relationship. Yung nakakaintindi kayo ng. customers (The one that can understand customers). You have to understand their business and the cash flow and what you want to do is lend based on the cash flow," Gotuaco said.

"If you are lending based on collateral only if you don’t understand the cash flow of the clients ang mangyayari dyan (what happens) they would default and take away their asset. That is not relationship. In BanKo it is relationship based on cash flow and collateral to us is just a symbol," Gotuaco said.

According to Rodolfo Mabiasen Jr., vice president and head of Micro-Enterprise Loans Group of BPI Direct BanKo, the interest rate depends on the amount of the loan.

The interest rate would start from two percent up to 2.3 percent. He said the maximum amount that a client could loan is PHP300,000 and minimum of PHP25,000.

BanKO does not require a collateral for loans from PHP25,000 to PHP100,000. But the bank requires a collateral for loans from PHP150,000 to PHP300,000.

Mabiasen said customers could apply for a BPI Direct BanKo's Negosyo Ko loan that could be released within seven banking days upon submission of requirements.

Based on the bank’s briefer distributed to media, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) make up 99.67 of the country's total number of business establishments. Of the total number, 20 percent or 166,769 are micro-enterprises in Mindanao.

The micro-enterprises is BanKo’s targeted clients as it aims to address access to credit to this segment. Jerome Minglana, President of BPI Direct BanKo, said BanKo's operating model and products address SEMEs unique needs.

He said BanKO goes to its clientele's places of business and engages them through their financial advisers or loan officers known as Bankomares or Bankopares.

Maya Padillo / PNA