BPI BanKo awarded for best use of mobile in emergency situations
for assisting Haiyan-affected communities in Visayas
BPI BanKo, the Philippines’ first mobile microsavings bank and a joint venture of Globe Telecom and BPI, bagged the award for Best Use of Mobile in Emergency and Humanitarian Situations at the 20th Global Mobile Awards held in Barcelona, Spain.
Partnering with the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps, BanKo’s emergency transfer program dubbed ‘TabangKO’ provided the means to directly and efficiently send out much needed financial assistance to 25,000 families in Haiyan-affected communities and islands in the Visayas area. More than 100 million pesos in aid was sent directly to beneficiaries’ BanKo accounts.
Instead of handing out paper vouchers or cash in envelopes, Mercy Corps was able to provide cash transfers to Haiyan survivors in a direct, effective and secure manner using BanKo’s mobile banking service. Beneficiaries could take out as much as they needed from their accounts by going to any of BanKo’s 4,000 partner outlets.
“TabangKO, as a mobile platform for financial aid, delivers tremendous benefit for our people living in highly vulnerable communities to become more resilient in the face of climactic disasters and external shocks. The recognition from Global Mobile Awards serves as an affirmation of our efforts to deliver innovative banking solutions, capitalizing on telecommunication and mobile technologies,“ said John Rubio, BPI BanKo President & CEO.
BanKo represents the growing trend toward branchless banking in emerging economies, where more people have mobile phones than traditional bank accounts and rural or island areas are harder for a traditional brick and mortar branch to reach. BanKo’s mobile-based savings accounts are usually the first such account for most of the recipients who have never had a secure way to store their money before.
The immediate cash aid delivered through TabangKO provided an economic boost for survivors who needed to buy tools and goods to start earning again towards a path of recovery. According to Rubio, when Typhoon Hagupit was forecasted to hit the same areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, BanKo and Mercy Corps were able to broadcast text messages to all the 25,000 beneficiaries of Mercy Corps, preparing them for the coming typhoon, and provided them with free mobile airtime credits to assist them at such a crucial time. “This proves the power of mobile not only as a solution for financial inclusion but also as a disaster reduction mechanism, enabling people in vulnerable communities to make informed decisions to mitigate risks to life and property,” Rubio added.
Recognizing excellence and achievement across the mobile world over 20 years of dynamic, game changing innovation and evolution, the GSMA Global Mobile Awards recognizes the most innovative mobile solutions and initiatives from around the world. The awards have grown and evolved alongside the industry and phenomenal growth of global markets to reflect the positive impact of mobile on all walks of life.
“Our warmest congratulations to all the winners of the 20th Global Mobile Awards,” said John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd. “Our winners are in the esteemed company of the mobile innovators, pioneers and leaders that have won these coveted awards over the last two decades, many of whom have been game-changers in transforming the way that the world communicates.”
BPI BanKo is a forerunner in providing the country’s unbanked communities access to financial products, particularly microsavings and microloans, and the potential to improve their living conditions, build small businesses, or hurdle emergencies.