1st Valley Bank expands Mobile Phone Banking Services

In November 2010, 1st Valley Bank, a Northern Mindanao-based rural bank, launched a channel management initiative to support its mobile phone banking services with technical assistance from the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to Mercy Corps and MICRA Philippines. The bank assigned three channel officers to promote the bank’s m-banking services for their branches located in Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte and Cagayan de Oro areas.

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Interview with the merchant partners

The bank is now focusing on alternative marketing strategies that combine financial education and product knowledge to enable users to register and utilize the bank’s m-banking services. In addition, the bank understood the need to integrate m-banking practices into its regular operations and microfinance activities to enable customers to be more active users of branchless banking options.

1st Valley Bank has strengthened its mobile banking strategy by allocating manpower and resources for the effort as well as improved senior management support and oversight.

1st Valley Bank has also been one of the bank’s that recently pilot tested the  Government of the Philippines’ Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program via GCASH Remit in partnership with Globe Telecom’s G-Xchange Inc.  In December, the bank helped process CCT transfers for 435 unbanked customers valued at almost 4.9 million pesos (US$110,000) in the municipality of Baroy, Lanao del Norte, Mindanao.  To facilitate the large number of recipients, the bank arranged the utilization of a local basketball court with the Department of Social Welfare and Development so that all the clients could be accommodated at once.

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The conditional cash transfer program is designed as a social safety net and poverty alleviation program for the poorest Filipino families. Also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, it gives conditional cash grants to poor and qualified households, wherein they receive P500 ($11.60) per month for health and nutrition and P300 ($7) per month for education of each of the first three children in the household up to age 14.
Rural banks have proven to be pivotal partners in providing cash-out facilities for the CCT program because of their presence in more than 80% of municipalities in the country as well as their cash liquidity to service the demand.In many of the areas targeted by the CCT program, rural banks are the only cash-out partner of GXI that has sufficient funds to support the multi-million peso transactions that take place in each location four times a year.  We expect an even greater opportunity for rural banks to support the CCT effort via GCASH Remit in 2011.

The conditional cash transfer program is designed as a social safety net and poverty alleviation program for the poorest Filipino families. Also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, it gives conditional cash grants to poor and qualified households, wherein they receive P500 ($11.60) per month for health and nutrition and P300 ($7) per month for education of each of the first three children in the household up to age 14.

Rural banks have proven to be pivotal partners in providing cash-out facilities for the CCT program because of their presence in more than 80% of municipalities in the country as well as their cash liquidity to service the demand.In many of the areas targeted by the CCT program, rural banks are the only cash-out partner of GXI that has sufficient funds to support the multi-million peso transactions that take place in each location four times a year.  We expect an even greater opportunity for rural banks to support the CCT effort via GCASH Remit in 2011.