BDO Network Bank Spurs MSMEs into Engines of Growth

2019 September – Reality is still biting micro businesses in the country as they experience limited access to capital. But BDO Network Bank, the rural banking subsidiary of BDO Unibank, Inc. and formerly known as One Network Bank, is steadily breaking that stigma as it fully recognizes that micro businesses, if supported accordingly, can turn into engines of economic growth.


Jesus Antonio S. Itchon, president of BDO Network Bank, said the rural bank serves a number of MSMEs and individuals who own sari-sari stores, tailor shops, and carinderias, to name a few. But there are still many who continue to borrow from informal lenders whose effective annual interest rates are too high and repayment is done on a daily basis.


“There is really no way for these people to build up capital under this set-up. At BDO Network Bank, the working capital loan structure has a tenor of 10 months up to three years and the repayment is monthly,” he said.


That is only step one of the process. A key supplement is the financial literacy program that the bank does for its clients.


“It is imperative that they not only learn how to borrow but that we are able to build a complete banking relationship with them so that they also understand the value of saving and investing for the future. That’s what we instill in them,” said Itchon.


Avoiding risks


Clients of BDO Network Bank have too many stories to share and if they remain unaware of the importance of saving a portion of their earnings and allocating another slice to investing, the risk would be inevitable.


“All our clients have bank accounts with us, they have ATM cards and access to online banking too. This year, our objective is to familiarize them on risk management. Hindi mo masabi, pwede kang masunugan, mabaha o ma-ospital at kung hindi ka ready, maaaring maapektuhan ang puhunan nila. Ang gusto ng BDO Network Bank, ma-protektahan sila at lumago ang kanilang puhunan,” explained Itchon.


In time, BDO Network Bank's aspiration is to take its clients’ businesses to the next level by supporting them with products and services that are relevant to their expansion.


Supporting inclusive growth


BDO Network Bank’s campaign to drive inclusive economic growth likewise covers providing salary loans to public school teachers and government employees who are situated in less urbanized areas where they are unserved or underserved due to lack of or scarceness of banks.


According to Itchon, teachers’ borrowings are mainly used to provide for the education of their kids and siblings; medical coverage of their family members; and, home improvement. But one area is slowly joining the ranks and that is funding supplemental livelihood to augment household income.


Plans ahead


In terms of expansion, BDO Network Bank is looking to put up more branches outside Mindanao, where its operations are now significant, to attain a meaningful nationwide presence.


BDO Network Bank has recently completed its rebrand following the approvals from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.


Envisioned to continuously promote community banking, BDO Network Bank operates separately as a rural bank subsidiary that mainly services the countryside. Just like its parent bank, most BDO Network Bank branches are open on Saturdays.


Clients of BDO Network Bank also enjoy zero interbank charge when withdrawing from a BDO ATM.


BDO Network Bank is the largest rural bank in the Philippines in terms of assets, with a network of over 150 branches and 90 loan offices nationwide.


The bank provides a wide range of financial products and services including loans, deposits, cash management, remittances, and bills payment in areas considered unserved or underserved by banks.


“Sama sama tayo!” Jesus Antonio S. Itchon, BDO Network Bank President (center), formally opens the Kabuhayan Festival along with other officers of the rural bank and partners from the public and private sectors at SM Davao Ecoland last September 21, 2019. Joining him, from left to right, are Nielex Tupas, BDO Network Bank  Vice President and Head of Corporate Relations; Peter Blair Agustin, BDO Network Bank Vice President and Chief Risk Officer; Merly Cruz, Go Negosyo Adviser for MSME Development; Rachel Remetio, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) City Director; Karen Cua, BDO Network Bank Senior Vice President and Group Head of MSME; and Rogelio Basco, BDO Network Bank First Vice President and Head of Operations.


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