THE Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) welcomed a strategic partnership with Voyager Innovations, a unit of telecommunications provider Philippine Long Distance Co. (PLDT) for a new mobile application called Lendr that will serve as an online consumer loans marketplace.
As a mobile application, Lendr aggregates all consumer loan products of participating banks into one service without banks having to create their own website or mobile banking app.
At the RBAP’s 58th Charter Anniversary Symposium, PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan stressed the importance of technology in today’s digital age.
According to him, some companies that failed to innovate alongside the shift in technology either had to close or suffer disruptions later on.
“No one – companies, banks, or even governments, large or small – will be spared from this digital disruption. And the best response is not to fight it – but to embrace it,” said Pangilinan.
The PLDT chairman encouraged rural banks to shift to digital technology to help them become more competitive by making good use of the Internet and mobile phones, which he described as “great equalizers.”
In the Philippines, the ratio of mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to the Philippine population was 114 percent in 2014, international business news wire Bloomberg reported. This figure is higher than the 95 percent global average.
Further, according to a report from the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) last year, more than a third of the Philippine population —or 38 million out of 100 million Filipinos—is now online.
These statistics are the reason why mobile phones and the Internet are increasingly perceived as pervasive modes for banks to further extend the delivery of financial services to far-flung communities.
Seen as rural banks’ compatible companion, the Lendr app has a grassroots reach that penetrates up to third- to sixth-class municipalities which, according to Pangilinan, will be useful to rural banks in terms of scope and efficiency.
At present, more than 50 individual rural banks have already signed up to be part of Lendr.
Pangilinan also pledged to work hand in hand with RBAP to resolve connectivity issues in the countryside which may hinder efficient banking operations and economic growth as a whole.