BPI BanKO, the country’s first mobile-based, microfinance focused bank, has partnered with Globe Telecom’s Bridging Communities and U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Scaling Innovations in Mobile Money (SIMM) Project to help Batangas City’s Ilijan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) in improving its organizational capacity, operational efficiency, outreach, and good governance through the use of mobile money.
Barangay Ilijan, a rural community located along the coastline of Batangas Bay, is home to the largest electricity-generating facility in the Philippines, the Korea Electric Power (Kepco) Corporation, which owns the 1,200-megawatt Ilijan natural gas power plant. The barangay residents put up the cooperative to service the plant’s janitorial manpower and canteen concessionaire requirements. To date, the Ilijan MPC has 628 members.
By opening BanKO accounts, members of the cooperative now have access to formal banking services which were previously only available in the town’s nearest urban area 25 kilometers away. BanKO’s partner outlet network allows its accountholders to do cash-in and cash-out transactions in community establishments such as pawnshops, sari-sari stores and the like. Using their BanKO accounts, cooperative members are also able to pay their bills, buy airtime load, send money and purchase microinsurance using only their mobile phones.
The collaboration with BanKO also presents the Ilijan MPC with an opportunity for payroll and microloan disbursements using mobile money, which addresses cash transport concerns and problems with traditional loan sharks. SIMM facilitated the partnership between both parties, in line with its mission to promote the use of mobile money to expand financial inclusion.
The partnership was formally launched at the cooperative’s general assembly last October 19, wherein members and Ilijan residents opened BanKO accounts. Noel Silang, Public Employment Service Officer of Batangas City LGU, delivered the keynote message. More than 500 participants took part in the event.
BanKO’s Vice President for Community Banking Rob I. Nazal says, “The introduction of BanKO and its services to Barangay Ilijan is a step towards achieving our objective of empowering more Filipinos through financial inclusion. Residents now have the capability to conduct bank transactions within their community, and have access to BanKO’s services using only their mobile phones.”
Globe SIM cards, which are one of the three requirements in applying for a BanKO account (the other two being a valid ID and P100 for the initial cash-in and ATM card), were also distributed for free. For this particular event, Globe Bridging Community SIM cards, which has a lifetime discounted rate of 50% for calls and SMS, were given out as Ilijan was considered as an adopted community under Globe’s CSR program.
Globe CSR also sponsored the ATM fees for all Ilijan MPC members and the first 4,000 residents who will apply for BanKO accounts. Globe also donated two (2) netbooks to the cooperative.
Batangas City residents, mostly from Brgy. Ilijan, attended the mobile money launch in the Ilijan Sports Complex in Batangas City last October 19.
BPI BanKO VP for Community Banking Rob Nazal presents the BanKO ATM card to the Batangas City residents who attended the mobile money launch at the Ilijan Sports Complex. He is joined by Chairman Felipe Concepcion from the Ilijan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Globe Corporate Social Responsibility Senior Specialist Apple Evangelista, USAID/Scaling Innovations in Mobile Money Project Chief of Party Mamerto Tangonan, Barangay Ilijan Chairman Prudencio Cepillo, Batangas City Public Employment Service Office Noel Silang, moderator Lucena Tolero, and officers of the national and local government.