Friday, April 19, 2024

9 PH rural banks get $655,000 ADB grants for digital transformation

Nine rural banks and a bank consortium have secured grants worth $655,000 from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the implementation of digital transformation solutions aimed at catalyzing financial inclusion.

The grant awardees are Banco San Vicente, Camalig Bank, MVSM Bank, Rural Bank of Guinobatan, Rural Bank of Medina, Rural Bank of Montalban, Rural Bank of Porac, Rural Bank of Silay, and Rural Bank of Tandag and The Good Bank Consortium.

ADB said the grants are part of its Fintech for Inclusion Transformation (FIT) program funded by the High-Level Technology Fund and the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund.

The grant awardees were chosen from among rural banks nationwide serving women, farmers, fisherfolk, and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, which submitted their digital transformation project proposals following the program’s launch in June 2023. The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are supporting the grant program.

Emma Xiaoqin Fan, ADB director for the Finance Sector Group, said the FIT program builds on ADB’s efforts to utilize technology to increase the efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of the finance sector, especially those that service underserved sectors in the country.

The grant awardees are aiming to achieve more efficiency in their operations, reduce operational expenses and friction costs, expand their reach, improve customer service, and build more resilient financial institutions overall.

Some of the digital transformation proposals involve putting up cloud-based core banking systems, loan origination systems, and credit scoring systems.

ADB has hosted a series of workshops and consultations with industry experts to assist the applicants in creating viable digital transformation solutions.

It also engaged a consulting firm to evaluate proposals and conduct due diligence, interviews, and assessment of the impact and institutional health of qualified applicants.

The FIT program is part of the ADB-financed Inclusive Finance Development Program, which supported government reforms to expand Filipinos’ access to financial services, especially the unbanked segment of the population. The reforms are linked to the government’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion.

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