TNT, the country’s largest prepaid mainstream mobile brand under Smart Communications, has expanded its savings and livelihood drive called Panalo Sa Ipon at Kabuhayan Aasenso ka Pinoy (Panalo SIKAP).
In cooperation with state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and FINTQ, the financial technology unit of PLDT and Smart’s digital innovations arm Voyager Innovations, TNT has rolled out an expanded program that provides an incentivized credit and voluntary savings-linked program.
It targets beneficiaries of the government’s cash dole scheme called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“With the help of mobile technology, we are able to reach more of those in need and empower them with the right services and opportunities to improve their lives,” said Kat Luna-Abelarde, Smart Wireless Consumer Operations head.
The program was launched in conjunction with LandBank’s recent “Ipon at Kabuhayan Para sa mga Kababayan” financial inclusion caravan held in nine municipalities all over the country.
Through the program, 4Ps beneficiaries are given the chance to enroll and choose a fixed amount of P50 or P100 that will be automatically deducted from their monthly 4Ps cash benefit.
LandBank will then provide a loan to the beneficiary equivalent to 50 percent of the projected savings build-up for five years, at a socialized rate of 2 percent annually, which can be used initially to start a Smart and TNT airtime load retailer business or any micro-enterprise eventually forming a cooperative.
“Through the Panalo SIKAP program, financial inclusion of unbanked and underserved citizens in the country is accelerated by giving them the option to save and, eventually, put up their own business,” Lito Villanueva, CEO at FINTQ.
Airtime reloading is a lucrative micro-business especially in small communities that have little to no access to bigger enterprises.
“Through Panalo SIKAP program, TNT is providing livelihood opportunities to Filipinos nationwide, so they can graduate from mere users of mobile technology to business owners earning from sustainable livelihood,” added Miriam Choa, TNT Brand head.
Once the loan has been fully paid and the beneficiary has established their credit-worthiness, they can opt to apply for livelihood assistance at a much higher value.
During the nationwide caravans, at least 4,000 unbanked Filipinos were able to open savings accounts on the spot and had the option to enroll their accounts to the Panalo SIKAP program.
The program is seen to ramp up the financial inclusion drive of various entities in the government and private sector in support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI), as it gives Filipinos a chance to be part of the formal banking and lending system in the country.
To date, only three out of 10 adult Filipinos have a bank account, with only 4.4 percent of the population having taken out a loan from banks and other financial institutions, according to latest BSP data from the NSFI study.
The program is just the latest in FINTQ’s efforts to utilize the power of digital and mobile technologies for financial inclusion. Also in partnership with LandBank, it earlier launched the Mobile Loan Saver platform, which digitizes the salary loan application process for government and private-sector employees using only their mobile devices.
Since LMLS was launched in January 2015, LandBank’s digital loan facility has already disbursed in excess of P9.4 billion with over 1,100 participating government agencies.
FINTQ also recently launched Lendr, a digital loans origination and loans management platform accessible via the Web and on mobile devices.
The platform has since signed up close to 20 commercial, rural, and thrift banks to date, with China Bank Savings and PNB Savings Bank as initial partners offering products via the platform.
Just recently, it announced the launch of the “PISO (Personal Insurance and Savings Option) sa Kinabukasan” program targeted at public-school K to 12 students across the country in partnership with various government agencies as well as with PLDT, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc.