The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines will lead the nationwide celebration of the Rural Banking Consciousness Week from August 25-31, 2014, with the theme “Rural Banks: Reliable Partners of Local Communities for Growth.”
The weeklong celebration, as declared by Presidential Proclamation Order No.
362, seeks to promote appreciation and raise awareness among Filipinos of the benefits of personalized banking offered by rural banks. This year’s theme is also a celebration of the effective and continuing partnership between rural banks and the government in the pursuit of inclusive growth.
With 604 municipalities and cities still without access to financial services, it is important for the public to know that there are institutions like rural banks dedicated to serve people from all walks of life.
For over six decades now, rural banks have been with the poor in their fight against poverty, earnestly supporting low-income households, farmers and fisher folk in their livelihood and business endeavors.
The industry supports this cause primarily through microfinance, which has been proven as an effective tool to promote pro-poor growth and financial empowerment. As of the first quarter of the year, rural banks with microfinance exposures have already released a total of P6.16 billion in microfinance loans, data from the central bank showed.
In the recently released Report on the State of Financial Inclusion in the country, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also noted that rural banks remain at the forefront of extending financial services to communities in the countryside with their extensive network of offices and branches.
According to the same report, rural banks are present in around 59 percent of the country’s local government units, thus having the largest coverage and market reach among all the banking groups. As of March 2014, there are 525 rural bank head offices and 1,970 branches strategically located nationwide, central bank data showed.
Besides the reach, rural banks also take pride in offering personalized services to their clientele. Because rural banks are rooted in localities with different demographics and culture, each bank exudes a certain sense of individuality on how it packages its products and services, and on how it conducts its business.
As the nation celebrates the rural banking week, the entire industry hopes that more Filipinos will realize the value of rural banking in obtaining financial security.