RBAP-MABS shares microfinance updates at the Southern Tagalog Confederation Management Conference

S.Tagalog Confed Mgt Conference 1On February 24-25, RBAP-MABS joined Southern Tagalog rural bankers in Legaspi City, Albay for their Confederation Management Conference themed, “Gearing Up: Striking the Balance between Regulation and the Biz”.

The event highlighted the competitive pressures, regulatory changes, and the innovation responses that are available for rural banks to continue to thrive and expand. In her opening message to the body, Ms. Corazon Miller, president of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP), asked the rural bankers to work closely with their federation presidents in order to support their colleagues when faced with challenges in their operations and market areas. She also cited the work of the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program in assisting rural banks in expanding their microfinance services, better addressing credit risks through microinsurance, and using the BAP Credit Bureau.

S.Tagalog Confed Mgt Conference 2This message was later reinforced by Mr. John Owens, RBAP-MABS Chief of Party, who detailed the MABS initiatives on microfinance, microinsurance, the small claims court, mobile phone banking, and use of the credit bureau to mitigate risks, bring further operational efficiency, and improve the banks’ credit processes. He emphasized the need to thoroughly understand the recently released regulations on microfinance including: (1) the new rules on micro-deposits; (2) setting-up microfinance-oriented other banking offices (MBOs) as a means to extend the reach of rural banks to unserved or underserved communities; and (3) the recent changes to the Anti-Money Laundering Law, which allow for tiered “know your customer” (KYC) requirements and the potential to utilize third party agents to assist with these procedures.

Overall, the management conference emphasized the need for the bankers to bravely face challenges through improved capital, technology, and services. All bankers were encouraged to contact RBAP-MABS or RBAP to get updates on the latest microfinance initiatives, receive microinsurance news and/or training, set up mobile phone banking services, utilize the BAP Credit Bureau, and receive updates or training on the small claims court procedures (download Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases).