BPI to onboard 1 M self-employed micro businesses

Published August 8, 2022, 3:39 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is aiming to get as clients one million self-employed micro entrepreneurs (SEME) by 2025 from its current 140,000 client pool, according to its President and CEO, Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco.

“Banking the unbanked is the first area by which we see our involvement in the public-private collaboration,” said Limcaoco on Monday, Aug. 8.

Bank of the Philippine Islands logo

He said BPI, in the next three years, will onboard a significant one million SEME clients to assist them for their long-term financial goals.

This number includes both SEME borrowers and non-borrowers who are depositors and insurance clients. From its current 140,000 SEME clients, they expect a growth of 614 percent by 2025 through BanKo’s NegosyoKo solution. NegosyoKo grants SEMEs access to easy, convenient, and affordable ways to fund the operations or grow their businesses, said BPI.

BPI is also expanding its sustainable development finance (SDF) in compliance with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Sustainable Finance Framework.

“We look for avenues through which we can work with government agencies in promoting sustainable banking practices,” said Limcaoco, adding that BPI is urging both the government and private sector to work together for a sustainable and inclusive Philippines.

Limcauco said BPI affirms its support of the government’s refreshed six-year National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI), its infrastructure programs and sustainable development.

This reinforces our commitment to help our country grow by providing relevant, innovative, and accessible financial solutions for all Filipinos,” he said.

Limcaoco reiterated BPI’s support of the government’s Build, Build, Build program through both project and sustainable financing.

Last year, BPI’s funding for sustainable insfrastructure totaled P2.5 billion. Its SDF alone has released some P75 billion.

Meanwhile, in the areas of financial education, BPI Foundation, its social responsibility arm, will continue to work with underserved communities, self-employed and start-up micro and small enterprises which “badly need guidance on proper financial management and even capital to kick start their big ideas and livelihood. “

“Sustained financial education and enterprise development and livelihood interventions can stimulate inclusive growth,” said Limcauco.

The BSP launched NSFI 2022-2028 in January as a shared blueprint for a broad-based growth and financial resilience. The updated NSFI also embraced the Philippine Development Plan and the AmBisyon Natin 2040.

Specifically, the new NSFI has clear-cut focus on micro, small and medium enterprises, start-ups, and agriculture financing. The MSME sector with 63 percent of total employment is a major source of livelihood for a large population of Filipinos.

The updated NSFI’s primary objective is financial resilience since many Filipinos, especially the poor, are facing increased vulnerabilities from the health crisis and climate change.

Last month, the BSP also announced the third phase of its sustainable finance roadmap. The latest rules on sustainable finance, once released this month, includes perks for banks that will increase their green financing.

So far, the BSP said that based on the reports submitted by banks in the last six months, they are “making good use” of the three-year transition window under the Sustainable Finance Framework. The Philippines committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030 under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

BPI, one of the country’s longest-running and biggest banks, reported a net income increase of 73 percent year-on-year to P20.4 billion as of end-June. Its total assets went up by 13.1 percent as well to P2.5 trillion.