1st Valley Bank Highlights its Mobile Banking Services

USAID delegates with 1st Valley Bank officers and staff

The officers and staff of 1st Valley Bank Zamboanga Del Norte branch welcomed officials of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) composed of Director Andrew Plitt (ASIA/Special Project Office), Myra Stokes and Teresita Espenilla of USAID/Philippines on July 20, 2011.  On hand to provide the briefing on the USAID-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program was Regional Manager for Mindanao Anthony Petalcorin, while 1st Valley Bank officer Ms. Emily Enad, 1st Valley Bank Vice-President for Risk Management provided the guests a look at how the bank is implementing the different initiatives under the RBAP-MABS program, especially with regard to mobile phone banking.

1st Valley is the largest rural bank in Northwestern Mindanao and 3rd largest in the country. One of the pioneers that embraced mobile phone banking technology at its early stage, the bank now offers the full range of mobile phone banking services that include paying bills and loans, making deposits and withdrawals, and money remittance through all its branches.

Plitt and StokesShown in the left picture are Mr. Plitt and Ms. Stokes experiencing hands on in registering to GCASH, perform a cash-in transaction, pay someone, and send a remittance. The experience demonstrated the ease and speed in doing all the required steps for every transaction.

During the visit, three clients from the coastal barangay of Labuan were on hand to share their experience with the mobile phone banking services as well as with the microfinance products and services offered at 1st Valley Bank.

1st Valley Bank microfinance clients utilizing mobile phone banking servicesA micro borrower of 1st Valley Bank for more than a decade, Mrs. Cristina Agustin used to pay her loans through the bank’s pick up collection service.  When the bank offered lower interest rates for those paying via the Text-A-Payment (TAP) service, she quickly signed up for the service. Her daughter helps her in making her payments from home without the need to worry about having cash on hand to pay the bank collector.

GCASH

Ms. Michelle Panes is one of 1st VB’s merchant-partners that serve as a touch point where other clients of the bank can go to cash in or cash out GCASH. Ms. Panes shared how being a GCASH merchant is providing her more income and how  1st Valley Bank’s clients in the community find it easier to pay their loans. Some six to eight bank clients are getting their GCASH from her to pay their loans to 1st VB. Ms. Panes summarizes the benefits of mobile phone banking in this manner:  “I get some income when bank clients get to pay their loans with GCASH while reducing the risk to the bank associated with pick up collection.”  When clients from Barangay Labuan go to the bank, they have to travel the distance of 37 kilometers for about an hour and spend about PhP100 for fare.

1st Valley Bank clients generate more than PhP55 million worth of mobile banking transactions monthly.  The USAID-supported RBAP-MABS program has already supported the training to over 70 accredited rural banks that now utilize mobile money platforms to facilitate mobile phone banking services through more than 1,000 branches and offices.  These banks have already processed more than PhP11 billion ($250 million) in mobile phone banking transactions for over 200,000 clients and customers.