Mindanao rural banks complete Housing Microfinance training

HMF TrainingFour Mindanao rural banks completed the RBAP-MABS training course on housing microfinance (HMF) held last April 4-6 in Butuan City.

The 2nd phase of a two-part HMF training course, the workshop provided the banks with the tools to complete their loan product manual and financial projections. Rural Bank of Labason and Rural Bank of Cotabato both plan to introduce their housing loan product during the first semester of this year. On the other hand, Cantilan Bank and Green Bank, which have been offering HMF loans in some of their branches since 2008, will be rolling out the product to more branches.

The training provided the participants with additional tools and the opportunity to validate their proposed product features using the results of the market research. It also allowed the participants to experience conducting focus group discussions with clients firsthand. Finally, RBAP-MABS drilled the trainees on cash flow analysis, especially when handling clients with dual loan accounts. The training team guided the participants on the step-by-step process of finalizing the product manual.  The participants valued most their learning experience from the focus group discussion conducted with loan clients and the cash flow analysis.

The USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program initiative in housing microfinance began in 2008.  To date, 60 bank units of seven (7) rural banks offer micro housing loans to their clients. BSP Circular 678, which was issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in January 2010, is encouraging more banks to add housing to their suite of microfinance loan products.

As of January 2011, 2,092 borrowers have received housing loans worth over P85 million primarily for home improvements. The Circular permits banks to lend to microfinance clients up to PhP300,000 with tenor up to 15 years for home or lot acquisition or home construction.