By James A. Loyola
BDO Network Bank, the rural banking subsidiary of BDO Unibank and formerly known as One Network Bank, is looking to put up more branches outside Mindanao as part of its expansion plans.
In a statement, the bank noted its operations are now significant in Mindanao and expanding its footprint in Luzon and Visayas will allow it to have a meaningful nationwide presence.
Envisioned to continuously promote community banking, BDO Network Bank operates separately as a rural bank subsidiary that mainly services the countryside.
BDO Network Bank is the largest rural bank in the Philippines in terms of assets, with a network of over 150 branches and 90 loan offices nationwide.
The bank provides a wide range of financial products and services including loans, deposits, cash management, remittances, and bills payment in areas considered unserved or underserved by banks.
While micro businesses in the country are still experiencing limited access to capital, BDO Network Bank is steadily breaking that stigma as it fully recognizes that micro businesses, if supported accordingly, can turn into engines of economic growth.
BDO Network Bank President Jesus Antonio S. Itchon said the rural bank serves a number of MSMEs and individuals who own sari-sari stores, tailor shops, and carinderias, to name a few.
But there are still many who continue to borrow from informal lenders whose effective annual interest rates are too high and repayment is done on a daily basis.
“There is really no way for these people to build up capital under this set-up. At BDO Network Bank, the working capital loan structure has a tenor of 10 months up to three years and the repayment is monthly,” he said.
That is only step one of the process. A key supplement is the financial literacy program that the bank does for its clients.
“It is imperative that they not only learn how to borrow but that we are able to build a complete banking relationship with them so that they also understand the value of saving and investing for the future. That’s what we instill in them,” said Itchon.