Rizal Microbank targets Mindanao for expansion
July 24, 2013 10:23 am
By Josine F. Estuye
MANILA, July 23 (PNA) –- Rizal Microbank, a thrift bank unit of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), is expanding to Mindanao regions in the coming years.
Lourdes Pidena, President of Rizal Microbank, revealed this in a press briefing Tuesday, as she announced that they will open four more branches, four microfinance banking offices (MBOs) in Mindanao area and four more in South Luzon.
Before the end of the year, Pineda said the Mindanao bank branches will open in Cayagan de Oro, Bukidnon, Butuan, General Santos, while MBOs will be in Davao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Sultan Kudarat, and Samal Island.
The remaining four MBOs will be in San Pablo, Cabuyao, Sta. Cruz, and in Laguna, and Lipa in Batangas.
Pineda said they have decided to cater more to the Mindanao market because of its bigger growth potential.
“The way I’m expanding in Luzon, I’m doing it not in branches but in microfinance bank, because Luzon market is very saturated. Mindanao has a bigger potential. That is also the reason why I moved the head office of Rizal Microbank,” she explained.
She also added that more Filipinos in Mindanao need institutions like Rizal Microbank, which offers easy loan to average people.
“Mindanao still needs more access to lenders, since most of the people there depend on moneylenders like “Bombay’s” which offers the highest interest rate,” the bank executive said.
“Compared to ‘Bombay’s 5-6 which offer 20 percent interest a month, we only offer 3-5 percent interest rate per monthly basis,” she added.
Although it may be high if measured to major bank’s per annual interest, she stressed that Rizal Microbank still is better since it doesn’t need so much requirements or collaterals, yet it accomplishes fast transactions.
“Because of our integrated core system, it only takes 2-3 days from application to disbursement,” Pineda even stressed.
However, she added that the management has not thought of opening branches in Autonomous Region in Muslim (ARMM) for security reason.
“The reason why I don’t want to expand in that area is because most of my people are working in the field. They are spending 80-90 percent of their working hours outside,” she explained.
On the other hand, she noted that other Rizal Microbank branches in Mindanao have and accept clients from the ARMM.
Since July 2011, Rizal Microbank, which was created from the merger of Merchant Savings Bank and J.P. Laurel Rural Bank, has been serving small scale businessmen and minorities that big banks do not serve.
They offer P50,000 to P1 million loans to individuals that are socially excluded or that suffer discrimination in work, business or involvement in community life.
To date, it has 14 branches, 10 of which are located in Luzon, 4 are in Mindanao area.
Early this July, it bagged a prestigious award from Singaporean award-giving body Enterprise Asia, proving its strong commitment to provide loans to aspiring sectors in the country.
The bank won the Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Award (Area) for its clear “Social Empowerment Mission”.
This is the first microfinance bank in the Philippines that has earn such recognition from Enterprise Asia. (PNA)