RBAP marks its 53rd Charter Anniversary

The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) held a two-day symposium on October 14 and 15 to mark its 53rd charter anniversary. Various speakers from both public and private sectors commended the rural banking industry for overcoming major challenges in recent years and for exhibiting better growth than other banking sectors in the country.
Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III’s keynote address stressed that as locally-owned and locally-based financial institutions, rural banks can focus their attention to the needs of their respective communities and local trade. Speakers from Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) and LandBank discussed programs to assist rural banks wanting to further strengthen their organization and operations.
According to RBAP President Cora Miller, “This year’s charter symposium was designed to help members of the rural banking industry find the right solutions to challenges that impede their growth. This is why we lined up a number of topics that focus on programs already available to help strengthen member rural banks wanting to further grow their operations.”
BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, on the other hand, cited the regulations approved early this year on housing microfinance, agriculture microfinance and microinsurance. These regulations allow rural banks to expand the microfinance products and services to their clients. The most recent BSP Circular 694 significantly broadened the functions of other banking offices (OBOs) and expanded the definition of microfinance to include micro deposits and microinsurance.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele in her keynote address, pointed to the continuous innovations in the rural banking sector to better serve microentrepreneurs and other low-income households. Recalling the consequences to the rural banking industry of the massive government-sponsored credit programs in the 1970s, she noted how the rural banks had always risen above adversities and moved forward to new horizons. She mentioned how the rural banks, in working with the USAID-supported Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program and other public and private partners, contributed to the improved ranking of the Philippines in the recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report which surveyed 54 countries in terms of their “Overall Microfinance Environment”. This year’s report showed that the Philippines improved its ranking from third to second worldwide, while still keeping its number 1 rank in Asia in terms of “overall microfinance business environment”.
Other symposium speakers presented the vast opportunities that innovations and technology offer including the launching during the symposium of the rural banks’ own branded card – the Rural Bank FaceCard. “The Rural Bank FaceCard is truly a giant leap towards our new horizon,” RBAP Executive Director Vincent Mendoza said. An important outcome of the partnership between RBAP, GXchange, Inc, and the USAID supported RBAP-MABS program, the Rural Bank FaceCard, which can be used as a valid ID, is linked to the subscriber’s GCash and will allow clients of rural banks to access over 9,000 ATMs nationwide.
The other speakers at the symposium includes officers from the Department of Agriculture, Bankers Association of the Philippines Credit Bureau (BAP-CB), G-XChange Inc. (GXI), Department of Finance (Bureau of Internal Revenue), and Department of Trade and Industry.

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The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) held a two-day symposium on October 14 and 15 to mark its 53rd charter anniversary. Various speakers from both public and private sectors commended the rural banking industry for overcoming major challenges in recent years and for exhibiting better growth than other banking sectors in the country.

Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III’s keynote address stressed that as locally-owned and locally-based financial institutions, rural banks can focus their attention to the needs of their respective communities and local trade. Speakers from Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) and LandBank discussed programs to assist rural banks wanting to further strengthen their organization and operations.

According to RBAP President Cora Miller, “This year’s charter symposium was designed to help members of the rural banking industry find the right solutions to challenges that impede their growth. This is why we lined up a number of topics that focus on programs already available to help strengthen member rural banks wanting to further grow their operations.”

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, on the other hand, cited the regulations approved early this year on housing microfinance, agriculture microfinance and microinsurance. These regulations allow rural banks to expand the microfinance products and services to their clients. The most recent BSP Circular 694 significantly broadened the functions of other banking offices (OBOs) and expanded the definition of microfinance to include micro deposits and microinsurance.

Gloria SteeleUnited States Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele in her keynote address, pointed to the continuous innovations in the rural banking sector to better serve microentrepreneurs and other low-income households. Recalling the consequences to the rural banking industry of the massive government-sponsored credit programs in the 1970s, she noted how the rural banks had always risen above adversities and moved forward to new horizons. She mentioned how the rural banks, in working with the USAID-supported Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program and other public and private partners, contributed to the improved ranking of the Philippines in the recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report which surveyed 54 countries in terms of their “Overall Microfinance Environment”. This year’s report showed that the Philippines improved its ranking from third to second worldwide, while still keeping its number 1 rank in Asia in terms of “overall microfinance business environment”.

Other symposium speakers presented the vast opportunities that innovations and technology offer including the launching during the symposium of the rural banks’ own branded card – the Rural Bank FaceCard. “The Rural Bank FaceCard is truly a giant leap towards our new horizon,” RBAP Executive Director Vincent Mendoza said. An important outcome of the partnership between RBAP, GXchange, Inc, and the USAID supported RBAP-MABS program, the Rural Bank FaceCard, which can be used as a valid ID, is linked to the subscriber’s GCash and will allow clients of rural banks to access over 9,000 ATMs nationwide.

The other speakers at the symposium includes officers from the Department of Agriculture, Bankers Association of the Philippines Credit Bureau (BAP-CB), G-XChange Inc. (GXI), Department of Finance (Bureau of Internal Revenue), and Department of Trade and Industry.