Cebu City, Philippines – BPI BanKO, the Philippines’ first mobile-based, microfinance-focusedbank, has partnered with the global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps to provide mobile cash transfers to those most impacted by Typhoon Haiyan.
“As the Philippines’ infrastructure, mobile phone network and markets begin to recover, mobile cash transfers like these are critical to help thousands of people recover from one of the worst storms in our nation’s history,” says Rob I. Nazal, vice president for Community Banking at BanKO. “Together with Mercy Corps, we have conducted small-scale pilots of this approach in Western Visayas and this coming week in North Cebu, and we feel confident that we can move forward rapidly to expand these efforts.”
In the pilots, beneficiaries were able to receive cash transfers electronically through their BanKO savings accounts. These beneficiaries were then able to cash out money from their accounts at BanKO’s partner establishments in their locations. At the end of the pilot, Mercy Corps generated electronic reports of the successful transfer of funds to the individual beneficiary accounts. Using this process, Mercy Corps was able to ensure the security, transparency and efficiency of the cash transfers.
“People are desperate and providing cash in this way ensures families can purchase exactly what they need to get back on their feet,” says Lesley Denyes, Agri-Fin Mobile Program Director for Mercy Corps. “At the same time, we are taking a long-term view of this recovery effort. Thousands of people who have never had a bank account will be able to save money securely for the first time. Moreover, through BanKO, they will have access to affordable financial products, such as small business loans and insurance, which can help even out unexpected financial setbacks in the future.”
Mercy Corps and BanKO have been working together to provide mobile banking solutions to clients with low-incomes and living in remote locations in the Philippines since 2011. Mercy Corps will lead the coordination between other non-governmental organizations intending to make these kinds of mobile cash transfers through BanKO to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.