Bangko Kabayan expands Mobile Phone Banking by targeting “influencers”

Last March 10-11, staff from the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS program went back to Batangas-based Bangko Kabayan to review its Mobile Phone Banking Channel Management pilot program. The team’s follow-up trip to Tingloy Island was to check on the developments of mobile phone banking activities there since the visit in December last year.

BK visit 1

Prior to the review, the bank had already added a merchant-partner to support bank clients in another village. It has also tripled the number of depositors and doubled the number of borrowers using mobile phone banking services. These efforts greatly help in making mobile phone banking sustainable in a remote island setting as in Tingloy.

With the project’s success in the island, the bank is now exploring ways to replicate the experience in other far-flung areas of the province. Bangko Kabayan intends to make use of its learnings from the pilot program in Tingloy Island to effectively support clients in more remote areas.

  • BK visit 2Conduct market research activities to target unserved/underserved markets early on. In this case, the bank targeted the villages farthest from the municipal center. It also focused on clients with existing businesses (such as variety stores), or those with other stable sources of income such as local contract employment or regular remittances from abroad.
  • Engage key persons in the community who have sufficient cash liquidity and are influencers who are interested to become accredited GCASH Cash-in/Cash-out (CICO) outlets; form a merchant-partnership with the bank. In this case, the bank partnered with the top village official’s entrepreneurial daughter, who became an accredited GCASH CICO and agreed to act as merchant–partner. The bank also registered the entrepreneurial wife of an overseas worker as merchant-partner in another village.
  • Conduct regular bank visits to strengthen bank visibility and credibility. The bank sends one channel officer at least once every two weeks to build trust and familiarity with depositors and borrowers in the community. It also conducts other activities such as marketing, credit investigation and merchant training to maximize bank presence in the area.
  • BK visit 3Use regular passbook savings and loans linked to mobile phone banking services (i.e. Text-A-Deposit and Text-A-Withdrawal for the savings product and Text-A-Payment for the loan product) as primary products to provide to the community. Based on their initial visit to the island, Bangko Kabayan’s bank officers identified a secure and reliable savings product as the primary need of clients in the area. The bank thus signed-up as many clients as they could during the launch to create momentum. They then followed-up these clients during the bank’s second visit to distribute their passbooks while concurrently soliciting a second wave of depositors.