BPI Direct BanKo, Inc., the microfinance arm of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), recently forged a partnership with Rare Philippines to provide banking services and financial access to all member fishers and their beneficiaries.
Rare Philippines is a non-profit organization that empowers near-shore fishing communities to sustainably manage their fisheries while increasing food security, improving livelihoods, conserving important marine habitats, and creating coastal climate resilience.
BanKo Head of Financial Inclusion and Microfinance Solutions, Rod Mabiasen, Jr. said the partnership will help promote financial literacy among members of the fishing communities through the Fish Forever Savings Club members. The initiative will address the geographic challenge of unbanked fishing communities to access financial services through BanKo’s PondoKo Savings Account.
“We hope to strengthen the savings habit of our hardworking fishers and their families with a secure and affordable savings account that can be accessed via mobile phone, ATM, and BanKo’s network of cash agents. BanKo’s PondoKo Savings Account will allow fishers to receive payments digitally instead of cash, leading to more peace of mind during the day as they continue their trade. The PondoKo Savings Account will enable them to access other financial services such as digital payments, micro-insurance and microfinance loans,”said Mr. Mabiasen.
Vice President of Rare Philippines Rocky Tirona said, “Our organization supports coastal communities across more than 50 towns—with 300 savings clubs across 23 towns, and with over 5,000 members—through direct connections with local government units. While these communities have their own savings and loans association, there are financial requirements that may be best served by formal institutions such as BanKo.”
With this partnership, BPI Direct BanKo will assist in the delivery of financial products to unbanked fishers affiliated with Rare Philippines.The Bank will provide BanKo Cash Agent Starter Kits with phone and load to identified Fish Forever Savings Clubs, and will conduct financial literacy training and provide advice from BanKoMares and BanKoPares, including support from the more than 300 BanKo branches and branch lite units nationwide.
“All these solutions will promote financial literacy and responsible financial management among members of the fishing communities, and hopefully, a better quality of life” Mr. Mabiasen said.