APRACA International Study Tour visits RBAP

The Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) Center for Training and Research in Agricultural Banking (CENTRAB) conducted an international study visit program in the Philippines on March 15-22.
Focusing on the challenges, risks and expectations on microfinance in the country, the study group visited RBAP-MABS, as well as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), People’s Credit & Finance Corporation (PCFC), Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan, GM Bank, and CARD-MRI. It was composed of 11 participants from the Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), State Bank of Pakistan, Bhutan Development Finance Corporation Limited, Life Giving Center for Integral Evangelization (Philippines) and Nagbitin Development Cooperative (Philippines).

Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, APRACA is a regional association that promotes and facilitates mutual exchange of information and expertise in rural finance. Its international study programs are usually conducted by its training and research arm, CENTRAB.

This study visit is the second from APRACA this year. Another group composed of eight officers from India’s Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD) and two officers from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) also conducted a study visit on February 8-13.

MABS Chief of Party discussed the training and technical assistance services that MABS provides to its participating banks. He also presented MABS initiatives, as well as recent regulatory changes in the Philippine microfinance industry particularly in microinsurance, housing microfinance and micro-agri. He discussed MABS’ technological approaches to microfinance, highlighting its mobile phone banking partnership with Globe Telecom’s G-XChange Inc. (GXI).

On the other hand, the study tour showed a great deal of interest in the practices and products pioneered by MABS. They asked details on mobile banking services as well as the regulatory environmen that supported branchless banking.