Landbank agri-loans hit P258 B in June

Published August 12, 2022, 2:11 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines remained the largest lender to the agriculture sector, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced.

In a statement on Friday, Aug. 12, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said that Landbank, the country’s second largest bank in terms of assets, has a total agri-loan portfolio of P257.7 billion as of end-June this year.

Diokno said the lender’s agri-loan portfolio, the biggest among the banking players in the country, was even 15 percent higher from the same period in the previous year.

The finance chief, who is the ex officio chairman of the Landbank board, said the lender has been a reliable development partner for both private entities and the government by acting as the latter’s primary distribution channel for financial assistance programs.

For this reason, Diokno said he expects Landbank to be at the forefront in transforming into reality the Marcos administration’s goals of achieving an inclusive financial system and long-term economic growth that benefits all Filipinos.

Diokno recognized how the bank upheld its social mandate of quickening inclusive growth in rural areas.

He noted how this mandate also evolved and expanded to serve other key sectors in support of the government’s move towards greater financial inclusion and national development.

Landbank is among government financial institutions mandated under the Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development Financing Enhancement Act of 2022 (Agri-Agra law) to manage a special fund.

Moreover, the bank has granted loans and spearheaded lending programs to support Housing and Health, Local Government Units (LGUs), Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), especially those struggling during the pandemic.

It has also intensified its efforts to target individual farmers and fishers.

Diokno also acknowledged the bank’s leading role in modernizing the banking sector through the establishment of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), the country’s first branchless and fully-digital government bank.

“LANDBANK has been at the forefront of banking the unbanked. Through our partnership in the rollout of the Philippine Identification System, more than 8 million formerly unbanked Filipinos now have their own bank accounts,” said Diokno.

“I commend the Bank for the recent launching of [the] PISO account, mainly targeting the underserved Filipinos,” he added.

Diokno aims to fast-track the roll out of such programs in line with his goal of onboarding 70 percent of Filipino adults into the formal financial system by 2023.

He also noted Landbank’s acquisition of the United Coconut Planters Bank as another milestone that further strengthened and improved the resilience of the institution.

“Here’s my marching order to you: do your utmost to make LANDBANK more focused and responsive than ever towards creating a meaningful and deeper impact in the Bank’s bigger role in nation-building,” said Diokno.