Container van microbanking offices eyed

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Rizal Microbank, a thrift bank under the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), eyes to serve more rural areas in the country by setting up microbanking offices (MBOs) that are made up from container vans.

Ma. Lourdes Jocelyn Pineda, president of Rizal Microbank, said that the thrift bank plans to set up container van offices similar to its recently launched MBO in Lipa City.

Pineda said that the Rizal Microbank Lipa City branch is the first MBO that is made up of two 40-footer container van that cost about P2.3 million to P2.4 million.

“This is a lot cheaper and you can set it up faster. The basic infrastructure and the entire office is a container van,” she said, adding that setting up container van MBOs is a lot cheaper compared to the cost of a regular branch.


“Usually, the rent for commercial spaces is really expensive. So it will take longer for the bank to break even. In a container van, all I needed is a vacant lot which is cheaper compared to commercial spaces,” she said.

The Rizal Microbank executive also noted that with the container van MBO, the bank can also save a lot of resources such as  rental fee.

Located in a 600-square meter lot, the Rizal Microbank only pays P15,000 a month for the lot rental fee of the Lipa MBO.

“A commercial space with the same area, costs about P50,000 to P70,000 so the savings is actually bigger. And if you able set up offices that are cheaper, you can set up more offices in the more rural areas.

Cause all you needed is a vacant lot,” she explained.

Pineda also mentioned that Rizal Microbank asked permission from the Bangko Sental ng Pilipinas if it is okay to use container van as basic infrastructure for an MBO.

“Since a microbanking office usually doesn’t have a vault. So it is okay to have a container van office, since an MBO is tied to a bigger branch, so all the cash transaction is in the big banks,” she said.

The executive added that the operation of the Lipa branch will be cashless since an MBO usually doesn’t have a vault, while any withdrawals can be processed through the automated teller machines provided by the RCBC.

Expansion in other areas
Meanwhile, Pineda also disclosed that the Rizal Microbank is looking to set up seven more MBOs by the first quarter of 2014.

“We are looking on setting up three in Luzon and four in Mindanao,” she said, noting that one MBO costs about P2 million each.

For Luzon, the thrift bank is looking to put up branches in Laguna particularly in the cities of Cabuyao and San Pablo, and Santa Cruz. In Mindanao, the areas that the bank is looking into are Calinan in Davao City, Takurong City in Sultan Kudarat, and Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.

However, with the difficulty of finding vacant lots, Pineda admitted that the bank may not be able to put up container van branches in the Luzon area.

“Maybe in Luzon, we are not able to set up like this, so it might end up small store space in commercial areas,” she said.

On the other hand, Pineda also said that within the year, Rizal Microbank will open up four branches in Mindanao in the areas of Butuan City, General Santos City, Valencia in Negros Oriental and in Cagayan de Oro.

“We should be opening them in the next two months, though they are not container vans. Those are really full pledged branches. They are bigger and located in commercial spaces,” she said.

Mayvelin U. Caraballo

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