MABS hosts Mobile Money Transfer Asia-Pacific Conference

Owing to its exemplary performance and remarkable success as mobile commerce pioneer and leader, the Philippines hosted the first Mobile Money Transfer Asia Pacific Conference (MMT-APAC) On December 7-9, 2009 put on by Clarion Events. Held at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Manila, the conference gathered some of the most important mobile money industry leaders, mobile network operators, financial institutions and regulators from all over the world. Following a tradition of successful MMT conferences in different parts of the world, the MMT-APAC hosted 166 participants and featured presentations from respected industry leaders.

Menekse Gencer, Aiaze Mitha and Gregg Marshall

During the pre-conference workshop held on December 7, mPay Connect Inc. Director Menekse Gencer provided and introduction of mobile money transfer, while Amarante Consulting Director and former M-Paisa Product Director Aiaze Mitha presented steps, tips and guidelines on how to talk with regulators regarding MMT issues, regulations and operations. Meanwhile, Utiba Senior Vice President Gregg Marshall gave a presentation that oriented the participants on approaching payment cultures in different countries based on Utiba’s experiences.

Panel of Philippine rural banks

Joined by MABS Chief of Party John Owens, presidents and key officers from five MABS’ participating rural banks offering mobile phone banking services (MPBS) shared the Philippine rural banks’ experiences on mobile money transfer and MPBS. GM Bank President Tomas Gomez IV, 1st Valley Bank President Nicholas Lim, Cantilan Bank Executive Committee Chairman Charles Hotchkiss, PR Bank President Robert Alingog, and Green Bank President Joseph Omar Andaya, shared the practical issues between mobile money issuers and microfinance institution (MFI) partnerships, lessons learned from pilot tests, and the mobile money business model for financial institutions. They also discussed the banks’ experiences in preparing small financial institutions to promote mobile money and mobile financial services, overcoming cash-in/cash-out constraints in rural communities, and developing mobile money ecosystems.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. delivered the opening speech on the first day of the MMT APAC conference, while US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie A. Bassett welcomed the participants on the second day. Globe Telecom Inc. President and CEO Ernest L. Cu and Smart Communications Inc. President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno each provided keynote presentations, sharing tips based on the networks’ experiences in mobile money transfer operations.
BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. outlined the BSP’s policies and mechanisms that provided an enabling environment for proper incentive structure and business opportunities so MMT can flourish. Meanwhile, Ms. Rizza Maniego-Eala, president of Globe Telecom subsidiary G-Xchange Inc. (GXI), participated in a panel session along with representatives of Western Union, MoneyGram, Smart and MABS on how to make MMT profitable.

Joined by MABS Chief of Party John Owens, presidents and key officers from five MABS’ participating rural banks offering mobile phone banking services (MPBS) shared the Philippine rural banks’ experiences on mobile money transfer and MPBS. GM Bank President Tomas Gomez IV, 1st Valley Bank President Nicholas Lim, Cantilan Bank Executive Committee Chairman Charles Hotchkiss, PR Bank President Robert Alingog, and Green Bank President Joseph Omar Andaya, shared the practical issues between mobile money issuers and microfinance institution (MFI) partnerships, lessons learned from pilot tests, and the mobile money business model for financial institutions. They also discussed the banks’ experiences in preparing small financial institutions to promote mobile money and mobile financial services, overcoming cash-in/cash-out constraints in rural communities, and developing mobile money ecosystems.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. delivered the opening speech on the first day of the MMT APAC conference, while US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie A. Bassett welcomed the participants on the second day. Globe Telecom Inc. President and CEO Ernest L. Cu and Smart Communications Inc. President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno each provided keynote presentations, sharing tips based on the networks’ experiences in mobile money transfer operations.

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. outlined the BSP’s policies and mechanisms that provided an enabling environment for proper incentive structure and business opportunities so MMT can flourish. Meanwhile, Ms. Rizza Maniego-Eala, president of Globe Telecom subsidiary G-Xchange Inc. (GXI), participated in a panel session along with representatives of Western Union, MoneyGram, Smart and MABS on how to make MMT profitable.

MMT 3

EKO Co-founder and CEO Abhishek Sinha, Amarante Consulting Director Aiaze Mitha, MicroSave Program Director Graham A.N. Wright, CGAP Microfinance Specialist Chris Bold, IFC Mobile Banking Consultant Janine Firpo, ACCION International Channels Specialist AmitabhSaxena, and MABS Chief of Party John Owens participated in a panel discussion on how to make MFIs ready for mobile microfinance. They tackled various issues regarding the use of mobile money technology in microfinance, including regulation, consumer relations, efficiency, cost, and technology platforms, among others.

Other speakers and panelists include Lance Blockley, Managing Director of Edgar, Dunn & Co.; Josias dela Cruz, Vice President of Bank of the Philippine Islands; Ling Xiang, Director of the Strategic Copperation Department of Union Mobile Pay;  Matt Dill, Head of Digital Ventures of Western Union; Ichwansyah Putra, mWallet Head of Product Development  of Indosat; Jeremy Cleaver, Private Sector Development Specialist of Asian Development Bank; Naushad Contractor, Head of Marketing Mobile Commerce of Vodafone Essar; Jojo Malolos, Wireless Consumer Division Financial Services Group Head ofSmart Communications, Inc.; Matthew Talbot, VP for mCommerce of Sybase 365; and Janine Firpo, EAP Mobile Banking Consultant for the IFC.

MMT delegates shopped at the Greenhills Shopping Center using mobile money.

MMT delegates shopped at the Greenhills Shopping Center using mobile money.

By the end of the conference, the international delegates were given an exposure tour to G-Xchange Inc (GXI) office, MABS Participating Rural Bank, PR Bank, and then Greenhills Shopping Center, where PR Bank’s participating merchants in Greenhills accept GCASH as payment for their products<download merchant list here> Using the SIM cards provided by GXI and GCASH provided by UTIBA during the MMT conference, the MMT attendees purchased products from merchants accepting GCASH for payment. Mobile wallet developer Utiba, the MABS Program, GXI, and MABS participating bank Philippine Rural Banking Corporation (PR Bank) facilitated the site visit to help participants learn how the successful partnership between USAID, RBAP, MABS, and GXI have helped to support greater access to banking services for microenterprise clients utilizing the GCASH platform. Smart Communications also provided conference participants with their own Smart SIMs and Smart Money cards for a mobile money experience in the EDSA Shangri-La Mall.