BPI invests in microfinance bank Rizal Bank
AYALA-led Bank of the Philippine Island has signed a deal to buy a 10 percent stake in microfinance-oriented rural bank Rizal Bank Inc. (RBI), expanding efforts to contribute to financial inclusion in the country.
RBI, a member institution of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), provides access to financial services such as microfinance loans and savings to the “poorest of the poor.” It has served more than 120,000 clients nationwide.
The partnership makes BPI the exclusive local equity partner in CARD MRI Banking Group. The deal is thus seen to deepen the bank’s reach in the microfinance space, thereby benefitting more unserved and underserved Filipinos.
“BPI’s partnership with RBI reaffirms BPI’s vision to be the leading bank with strong focus on financial inclusiveness and sustainable growth. RBI’s emphasis on forging trust and building relationship with its clients is aligned with BPI’s own customer-centric efforts,” BPI president and chief executive officer Cezar Consing said in a press statement on Tuesday.
RBI president and CEO Flordeliza Sarmiento said: “Having BPI as our partner will open opportunities for us to expand and further improve our services for the socio-economically challenged families. This is consistent with our goal of reaching more families by providing a client-focused and financially inclusive products and services.”
“It is part of our mission to partner with institutions with the same goals as CARD MRI. Together with BPI and other partners and stakeholders that we currently have right now, we will continue to pursue our goal of creating a financially inclusive and poverty-free Philippines,” said CARD MRI founder and managing director Jaime Aristotle Alip.
Microfinance is the provision of a broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers and insurance products to the poor and low-income households, for their microenterprises and small businesses, in turn enabling them to raise their income levels and improve their living standards. Average microfinance loan of an microfinance institution in the Philippine case is about P25,000, although it can go as low as P2,000 to P5,000 to as high as P150,000.
CARD MRI is a group of social development organizations founded in 1986. Through its holistic approach to development, it aims to improve the quality of life of socioeconomically challenged families and to eradicate poverty in the country. Its 14 institutions specialize in microfinance, microinsurance, business development, education, information technology, pharmacy, and community development. As of end-June, CARD MRI has served more than 3.6 million clients all over the Philippines.
RBI, a member institution of CARD MRI, is a microfinance-oriented rural bank established in May 1996. Headquartered in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, RBI has eight branches located in Taytay (Rizal), Tanay (Rizal), San Fernando (Pampanga), Angeles (Pampanga), Taguig, Malolos (Bulacan), Iba (Zambales) and Dumaguete City, based on the bank’s website.
In 2013, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) approved the transfer of ownership of RBI to CARD MRI.
BPI’s equity investment in RBI, including the final terms and conditions, is subject to the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
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