MABS takes off for ACCION’s consumer protection research project

ACCION International Center for Financial Inclusion’s Senior Fellow and Beyond Codes Project Head Heather Clark together with representatives from the RBAP-MABS Program, MCPI, and BSP in reviewing Cantilan Bank’s overall and microfinance operations by conducting interviews, facilitating discussions, observing operations and checking out bank practices and policies. Also in the picture are members of Cantilan Bank’s senior management including Ret. Generals William Hotchkiss III and Charles Hotchkiss, and General Manager Raul Urbiztondo.

ACCION International Center for Financial Inclusion’s Senior Fellow and Beyond Codes Project Head Heather Clark together with representatives from the RBAP-MABS Program, MCPI, and BSP in reviewing Cantilan Bank’s overall and microfinance operations by conducting interviews, facilitating discussions, observing operations and checking out bank practices and policies. Also in the picture are members of Cantilan Bank’s senior management including Ret. Generals William Hotchkiss III and Charles Hotchkiss, and General Manager Raul Urbiztondo.

As part of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines’ partnership with ACCION International and Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) for the Beyond Codes Action Research Project, technical staff from MABS, ACCION, MCPI and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) visited Cantilan Bank from June 22 to 26 to research and assess the bank’s practices toward consumer protection and transparency.

The review was based on six principles of consumer protection: preventing over-indebtedness, transparent pricing, appropriate collection practices, ethical staff behavior, complaint mechanism and privacy of client information.

This activity is a part of the “Beyond Codes” action research project, which aims to formulate a consensus of pro-consumer bank practices by collecting consumer protection codes of conduct and documenting these codes’ implementation in various countries, including the Philippines.

With 12 branches serving municipalities in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, Cantilan Bank is one of RBAP-MABS program’s participating banks and has received three EAGLE Achievement Awards from the program. In 2007, the bank was cited by Microfinance Information eXchange (MIX) as one of the 100 best microfinance institutions in the world in terms of outreach to voluntary microdepositors.