Banks have allotted more funds for microfinance lending, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) chief said, allowing more Filipinos to secure small-scale loans in the first half of this year.
In a speech during the 2015 Citi Microfinance Awards (CMA) on Wednesday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. reported that latest available figures showed that 173 banks were engaged in microfinance as of June 2015.
These banks have a loan portfolio of P10.4 billion, distributed to 1.27 million borrowers and 14.3 percent higher than the P9.1 billion recorded a year earlier.
“We see, therefore, an increase in both microfinance loans and borrowers,” Tetangco said during the event, which honored micro-entrepreneurs said to have benefited from increased access to funds.
In May, the central bank reported that microfinance loans handed out by banks in 2014 stood at P11.4 billion, distributed among 1.2 million clients.
The central bank defines microfinance loans as credit given to poor and low-income households to “raise their income levels and improve living standards,” marked by market-based interest rates and lower or no collateral requirements. Among its recipients include farmers, fisherfolk, and small to medium-scale entrepreneurs.
At the CMA event, seven outstanding micro-entrepreneurs whose achievements were cited as microfinance successes were honored.
“They are outstanding because they succeeded even in the face of many challenges, because they inspire, because they contribute to their community,” Tetangco said.
The awardees were national winner Lydia Malot, who manufactures nata de coco and other coconut by-products; regional awardee for Luzon Ester Shiela Vitto, who sells sandals from recyclable materials; regional awardee for Visayas Jordan Inalisan, who produces special pastillas and delicacies in Leyte; and regional awardee for Mindanao Maternidad Salili, a coil spring producer.
Also acknowledged were special awardee for community leadership Marines Takingan, who owns an organic vegetable and flower farm; and special awardees for agri micro-business Victoria Bantilan, who grows mushroom and organic rice; and Laarni Ditablan, who breeds knife fish in Rizal.
Tetangco said the CMA awardees proved the power of financial inclusion in improving lives and in serving as catalysts for development in their communities.