The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) on Thursday said its loans to priority sectors increased by 30 percent in the first half of the year as more farmers and fisherfolk took advantage of the lower interest rates.
In a statement, LBP president Gilda Pico said LBP’s total loans to the priority sector reached P268.9 billion from January to June, representing 82 percent of its total loans of P328.9 billion during the period.
Pico attributed the increased lending to higher loans extended to small farmers and fishers, micro-enterprises and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), utilities, and socialized, low-cost, and medium-cost housing.
“At LandBank, the pursuit of our social mandate remains at the front and center of our operations. While we constantly strive to grow our profits, we have always kept our sight on our reason for being, which is to help grow the agricultural sector and the rural communities we serve,” she said.
LBP’s priority sectors include small farmers/agrarian reform beneficiaries and fishers (SFFs) and their associations, microenterprises and SMEs, agri- and aqua-businesses, agri-aqua related projects of local government units (LGUs) and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), communications, transportation, housing, education, health care, environment-related projects, tourism, and utilities.
LandBank’s outstanding loans to small farmers and fishers increased by 11 percent in the first half to P31.4 billion from P28.3 billion last year while loan releases to these sectors over the same period reached P23.8 billion, up 30 percent from the P18.3 billion released in the same period last year.
The bank said these loans were channeled through 739 farmers’ and fishers’ cooperatives, 152 countryside financial institutions and 163 irrigators’ associations, benefiting 422,342 SFFs.
Meanwhile, loans to micro enterprises and SMEs increased by 31 percent to P45.4 billion from P34.7 billion in June 2013, while loans for socialized, low-cost, and medium-cost housing expanded by 33 percent to P31.3 billion from P23.5 billion in the same period last year.
Its loans to the utilities sector reached P41.4 billion. The bank recently formalized a partnership with the National Electrification Administration to provide financing assistance to electric cooperatives and wholesale power aggregators under its BRinging Inclusive Growth in every Household through National Electrification Support Services, or BRIGHTNESS Program.
To date, LBP remains the single largest lender to small farmers and fishers and the leading provider of financial assistance to micro and small and medium enterprises among the GOCCs and government financial institutions.
It is also the biggest credit provider to the LGU sector, financing projects in agri-infrastructure, agri-business, schools and hospitals, farm-to-market roads, housing and livelihood, and other developmental projects.