By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has maintained its list of accredited rural financial institutions (RFI) that are compliant with agri-agra rules.
Based on the latest and updated circular letter issued by the BSP, there are still 10 RFIs accredited by the BSP and 27 accredited by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) as of end-January 2020.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier, in the circular letter, reiterated that the BSP accreditation of the 10 rural banks are not endorsements but that the public should view this list as one of the provisions of the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009.
“(The) list of accredited RFls (are) being issued for reference and guidance of lending and/or investing banks,” said Fonacier.
A lending/investing bank “intending to utilize its exposure to an accredited RFI to comply with the agri-agra report must disclose such exposure in its agri-agra report submitted to the BSP,” she added.
Involved banks with exposure to an accredited RFI will be deemed agri-agra compliant until the RFI is disaccredited. If disaccredited, under BSP rules, the lending/investing bank will be allowed to use its exposure to a disaccredited RFI for compliance with the agri-agra requirement for a limited time or a grace period of one quarter reporting. Beyond the grace period, the lending/investing bank’s agri-agra report will be considered “defective.”
The accredited 10 RFIs are: Producers Savings Bank Corp.; Rural Bank of Sta. Catalina; Common Wealth Rural Bank; Rural Bank of Angeles; New Rural Bank of San Leonardo (Nueva Ecija); First lsabela Cooperative Bank; Rural Bank of San Mateo (lsabela); Cavite United Rural Bank Corp.; Rang-Ay Bank; and Rural Bank of Bay, Inc.
The BSP has been working with with the banking sector to improve the agriculture sector’s – such as smallholder farmers – access to credit and financing. In 2018, the BSP monitored a credit gap of about ₱370 billion.
Banks need more convincing to release funds to the agriculture sector which had a requirement of at least ₱1.1-trillion financing since 2009.
BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has vowed to pursue the proposed changes to the Agricultural Financing reform bills as this will allow banks to “merge their loan allocation to the farm sector as a measure to improve banks’ compliance rate.”
The Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009 mandates banks to allot at least 10 percent of total loanable funds for agrarian reform beneficiaries and 15 percent for farmers and fisherfolk.