BPI microfinance arm pushes digital platform
MANILA, Philippines — The microfinance arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) continues to reach out to its self-employed microentrepreneur (SEME) clients, urging them to go digital in conducting financial transactions amid the ongoing global health crisis.
BPI Direct BanKo head of financial inclusion and microfinance solutions Rod Mabiasen urged clients to use its digital platforms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The key is to first introduce the functionalities that are most relevant to them. For our borrowers, we let them know that they can access their loan accounts in the app to verify that their payments are reflected in the loan balance. Once they get comfortable with the platform, we show them its other functionalities,” Mabiasen said.
BanKo is adding more app features this year to elevate clients’ digital banking experience.
These include innovations that will allow SEMEs to apply for loans and other financial solutions to support their business operations and enable existing borrowers to view their amortizations and payment schedules.
It is also fine-tuning the capabilities of the QR (quick response) code system to allow more seamless inter-bank transfers and payments.
To reach more SEMEs across the country, BanKo will enter into partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units (LGUs) to help promote financial literacy programs which complement its digitalization initiatives.
“We shall continue our partnerships with LGUs, DTI, and organizations to reach out to the microentrepreneurs. We will cover topics such as financial wellness, cash flow management, managing loans, as well as the holistic needs of clients that go beyond finances and loans,” Mabiasen said.
The Collective Action Secretariat to Enhance Resilience (CASTER) scoping found that microentrepreneurs are falling behind in terms of ability to conduct financial transactions digitally.
The study was conducted through a joint undertaking between Restart Me, BPI and BanKo to evaluate opportunities, challenges, and solutions that may assist MSME and microfinancing institutions in their business recovery efforts.
It identified four other challenges MSMEs are facing including limited access to affordable capital, slow recovery of consumer demand, continued disruption of operations in response to evolving policies and guidelines, and lack of resilience and risk management mechanisms to enable MSMEs to weather economic disruptions from various forms of disaster and calamities.
On the other hand, five key solutions identified include supporting pivot to resilient, sustainable business models, recovery and resilience financing innovation, scaling up digital adoption, resilient supply chain innovation and incubation as well as MSME resilience metrics, scorecard and tracking.