BPI BanKO, the country’s first mobile-based, microfinance-focused bank sets its sights on expanding its base in the south by launching partnerships with two major companies based in Cebu: Prime Asia Pawn & Jewelry Shop, Inc. and Visayan Electric Company, Inc (VECO).
The bank, which pioneered the concept of branchless banking in the Philippines by training and accrediting establishments such as pawnshops, drugstores and convenience stores to offer financial services, increases its network of partner outlets with the addition of Prime Asia branches in Visayas and Mindanao. Presently the first and only ISO-certified pawnshop, Prime Asia is acknowledged as one of the more aggressive players in the pawnshop industry due to its steady growth and stability. Its branches will allow more clients in the VisMin region to gain access to the services provided by BanKO.
As BanKO partner outlets, Prime Asia branch personnel are authorized to process application forms for account opening and facilitate cash-in and cash-out transactions. For only P100, one valid ID, and a Globe or TM SIM, applicants are able to open a savings account and get an ATM card at Prime Asia branches.
“Our partnership with Prime Asia will help us reach out to more people in the countryside who have little or no access to formal banking services. Prime Asia’s extensive branch network will serve as our delivery channels in extending BanKO’s products to its customers,” BanKO president Teresita B. Tan says. “The presence of more BanKO partner outlets, especially in far-flung areas, is key to our objective of providing financial inclusion to unbanked Filipinos.”
Tony Castro, General Manager of Prime Asia adds, “Prime Asia is pleased to take part in BanKO’s mission to give every Filipino a chance to improve their lives by opening and maintaining a savings account. We aim to provide the quality service that we give to Prime Asia clients to BanKO accountholders as well.”
To further augment its current lineup of services to the Visayan market, BanKO has also enlisted VECO as a partner biller for the PayBills mobile payment facility. With this facility, BanKO accountholders can pay their VECO electric bills using only their cellphones and allows them the convenience of paying anytime, anywhere without incurring any fees or airtime charges. They also get real-time text confirmation of their payments.
VECO Billing and Collections Manager Sandro Aboitiz says, “VECO prides itself in putting its customers’ needs first. With the introduction of BanKO’s PayBills service, we offer a more convenient payment option for our customers, allowing them to pay for their bills on time, thus minimizing the risk of disconnection.”
With these partnerships, BanKO expects to gain a foothold on the VisMin market and increase its accountholder base further. “We are thankful to partners like VECO and Prime Asia who share our vision of bringing banking to the underserved and the unbanked,” Tan concludes. (February 2013)
BanKO, VECO and Prime Asia executives at the Cebu press launch for the new partnerships (L-R) BanKO Chief Marketing Officer Rita Duenas, VECO Vice President for Administration and Customer Services Group Ricardo Lacson, BanKO President Teresita Tan, Prime Asia General Manager Tony Castro, and VECO Chief Operating Officer Sebastian Lacson.