Tanzanians Take a Closer Look at Microfinance in the Philippines

CRBD of Tanzania during their visit at Bangko Kabayan, Inc.

In partnership with RBAP International Study Visit Program, The United States Agency for International Development-supported Rural Bankers Association of Philippines– Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program organized an international study group for representatives of the Cooperatives Rural and Development Bank Microfinance Services Company Ltd. (CRDB) of Tanzania on January 18, 2012.

CRDB Microfinance Services Company Ltd., a subsidiary of CRDB Bank Plc, offers wholesale microfinance services by providing tailor made products and services that address financial needs of different communities in Tanzania. Moving forward, they plan to go into retail microfinance and design more catered products reaching the formerly ‘unservable’ market niche. The visit aims to obtain lessons learnt from rural banks in implementing microfinance, microinsurance and mobile phone banking. This would eventually align their outreach strategies together with technological advancements, knowledge of specific market segment and continuous development of internal capacities to achieve maximum impact to businesses and the communities they serve.

Mrs. Teresa Ganzon of Bangko KabayanThe directors and management of CRDB participated in an exposure visit to Bangko Kabayan Inc., a RBAP-MABS participating bank.  Mrs. Teresa Ganzon, the managing director of Bangko Kabayan Inc., shared insightful first hand experiences of the bank. Likewise, the Country Bankers Life Insurance Corporation imparted how they were able to devise relevant insurance products to extend their services to the entrepreneurial poor people.

Bangko Kabayan has sixteen (16) branches all over the Batangas province and has been a RBAP-MABS participating bank since 2001. In 2000, the bank started to offer its microfinance products such as individual and group loan products for microentrepreneurs. In 2009 it included housing loans in its product portfolio. It currently serves 9,681 microfinance borrowers with an outstanding microfinance loan portfolio of more than PhP 105 million.

Bangko Kabayan is also one of the three banks to be licensed by the Insurance Commission and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to market, distribute and sell microinsurance products. In 2010, it collaborated with Country Bankers Life Insurance Corporation to improve access on insurance options of its microenterprise clients and to cover the microfinance loan portfolio of the bank.  As one of the partner-insurers of RBAP-MABS, Country Bankers Life has provided insight into the needs and preferences of low-income clients, based on a market assessment study conducted by RBAP-MABS in 2009.  Lessons from the study led to the collaborative effort of Bangko Kabayan and Country Bankers to expand insurance coverage to benefit microenterprise households served by the bank. As of June 2011, fifteen (15) of its branches has distributed microinsurance products to 1,568 principal/policy holders and their 5,331 dependents.