Philippines' best bank for microfinance 2019: BPI
Bank of the Philippine Islands
When it comes to financial inclusion and, in particular, the Philippines’ young microfinance sector, two local commercial banks stand out from the crowd. BDO Unibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) have both expanded aggressively into this previously overlooked market segment. Better still, both have ambitious plans to up their game.
But while BDO Unibank’s rural banking arm (called One Network Bank) continues to impress with its coverage of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, it is BPI’s BanKo, the product of a merger between two specialized thrift bank units, that is setting the pace.
BanKo’s network almost doubled from 103 to 200 branches last year. It plans to open an additional 100 branches this year to cope with increasing demand from a new generation of bright young entrepreneurs.
“Microfinance is the smallest business unit at the bank, but it is where we see the biggest growth potential,” says Cezar Consing, chief executive and president of BPI.
That’s good news for small businesses, which all too often have been forced to borrow at exorbitant rates from money lenders. It’s also good news for the long-term growth of the bank’s bottom line, since this business segment should be one of the most promising sectors of the economy.