BPI BanKO, the Philippines’ first mobile phone-based savings bank, and the global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps have teamed up with IDEO.org to design financial products that will help Filipinos hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan find more secure financial footing. IDEO.org is the non-profit arm of design and innovation firm IDEO, whose signature human-centered design approach, an iterative method for creative problem solving, is used to shape products, processes and business systems.
“In the startling fact that 80 percent of Filipinos do not have regular access to a bank account, we saw an opportunity to shift our recovery efforts toward greater financial inclusiveness,” says Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive officer of Mercy Corps. “By tapping IDEO.org’s expertise, we are making sure BanKO’s newest clients have access to financial products that give them greater control over their financial lives.”
BanKO and Mercy Corps partnered after Typhoon Haiyan to provide relief funds for tens of thousands of survivors through mobile savings accounts, giving many the ability to save money securely for the first time. Nearly 22,000 households in North Cebu and Leyte have been registered and over 8,000 have received their first cash transfer. By June, all will have received up to three cash transfers totaling 3,950 Philippine Pesos, approximately US$87.
“As advocates for financial empowerment of the poor, we measure our success by the impact our products have on the lives of our clients,” says Rob I. Nazal, vice president for Community Banking at BanKO. “People are using the savings accounts, and our next step is to determine what other financial services products they may need.”
Six months after the most devastating storm ever to hit the Philippines, recovery efforts continue in many of the hardest hit areas.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Mercy Corps and BanKO to apply our approach in a post-disaster setting,” says Jocelyn Wyatt, executive director of IDEO.org. “Together IDEO.org and Mercy Corps are helping BanKO create financial products that effectively meet the needs of the rural poor in the Philippines.”