A look at microfinance in Cotabato City

Cotabato City, the seat of the ARMM Government in Mindanao, has a big market for microfinance as evidenced by the robust business activities within and outside its business district. The favourable business climate it experiences nowadays is the result of continuing effort exerted by the national and local government, the military, and more importantly, the unwavering resolve of the local populace to bring lasting peace and prosperity.
To date, there are 3 privately owned and 2 government-owned commercial banks active in the city’s commercial lending sphere. However, despite the city’s enormous potential for microfinance, only one bank offers microfinance products in the area – the Rural Bank of Cotabato, Inc. (RBCI) established almost 50 years ago. The only rural bank in Cotabato City, RBCI was established in 1961 for the primary purpose of providing the city’s public school teachers with access to salary loans and deposit services. It now offers loans for agricultural and commercial purposes, among others. RBCI joined the USAID-supported MABS Program in 2004 and in 2005, it began applying the MABS Approach to microfinance lending.
In order to gear up RBCI’s financial services for the large micro and SME (small and medium enterprise) sectors in Cotabato City and its environs, MABS reviewed RBCI’s microfinance operations on July 14-16 to evaluate its areas for improvement and training needs. Assisted by MABS, the bank drafted an action plan to guide the bank in moving towards further strengthening its banking and microfinance operations.
With assistance from MABS, RBCI hopes to provide better financial services to Cotabato City and its neighbors’ microfinance clients, taking its own share of bringing peace and prosperity in the once feared metropolis.

Cotabato City, the seat of the ARMM Government in Mindanao, has a big market for microfinance as evidenced by the robust business activities within and outside its business district. The favourable business climate it experiences nowadays is the result of continuing effort exerted by the national and local government, the military, and more importantly, the unwavering resolve of the local populace to bring lasting peace and prosperity.

To date, there are 3 privately owned and 2 government-owned commercial banks active in the city’s commercial lending sphere. However, despite the city’s enormous potential for microfinance, only one bank offers microfinance products in the area – the Rural Bank of Cotabato, Inc. (RBCI) established almost 50 years ago. The only rural bank in Cotabato City, RBCI was established in 1961 for the primary purpose of providing the city’s public school teachers with access to salary loans and deposit services. It now offers loans for agricultural and commercial purposes, among others. RBCI joined the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program in 2004 and in 2005, it began applying the MABS Approach to microfinance lending.

RB Cotabato Op RevIn order to gear up RBCI’s financial services for the large micro and SME (small and medium enterprise) sectors in Cotabato City and its environs, RBAP-MABS reviewed RBCI’s microfinance operations on July 14-16 to evaluate its areas for improvement and training needs. Assisted by RBAP-MABS, the bank drafted an action plan to guide the bank in moving towards further strengthening its banking and microfinance operations.

With assistance from RBAP-MABS, RBCI hopes to provide better financial services to Cotabato City and its neighbors’ microfinance clients, taking its own share of bringing peace and prosperity in the once feared metropolis.