[17 MAY 2017] LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY – The Camalig Bank, Inc. (A Rural Bank), together with FINTQ, the financial technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, has rolled out mobile-based loan applications to borrowers in Bicol through the pioneering and award-winning digital lending platform Lendr.
With the help of Lendr, qualified Department of Education teachers, government workers, and private-sector employees are now able to apply for loans using Internet-connected mobile devices and get notifications for their loan applications all within the same day.
“We’re happy to partner with Camalig Bank in this effort of empowering borrowers in low-income cities and municipalities in the Bicol region through mobile-based digital lending via Lendr. Through a fast and convenient application system, many are now gaining access to formal finance which will help them participate in this rapidly growing digital economy,” said Lito Villanueva, Managing Director at FINTQ.
No need to file leave
The province of Bicol, which is composed of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon, features a geography much like the entirety of the Philippines, with hundreds of distinct and isolated islands that make accessibility a challenge for most banks.
Typically, borrowers would have to file a leave from work just to be able to apply for a loan at bank branches located in the urban centers of the province. The trip usually takes them at least two hours one way, with most traveling as much as 57 kilometers just to reach the town proper whenever they need a loan. Now, through Lendr, borrowers in Bicol can easily apply for a salary loan from Camalig Bank using only their mobile phones.
“The digital age has ushered so much convenience for all. Part of our transformation efforts at Camalig Bank is to bring such benefits to our clientele in the Bicol region, and to be able to serve more clients, even those in far-flung municipalities that are traditionally out of our reach,” said Miel Moraleda, President of Camalig Bank.
Camalig Bank is the largest rural bank in Bicol, with presence in most of the provinces in the Bicol region.
Toward greater financial inclusion
The partnership between FINTQ and Camalig Bank through Lendr forms part of the support for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion, which aims to establish programs and systems that ensure access to financial products and services for the traditionally unbanked and underserved communities in the country.
At the heart of these financial inclusion efforts are mobile and digital systems like Lendr, which enable banks and financial institutions to serve traditionally untapped markets even without establishing brick-and-mortar branches in these areas.
“BSP welcomes this development in starting the journey towards digitizing rural bank lending. This is well aligned with the government’s thrust of promoting responsive and responsible banking. Ultimately, technology will not just level the playing field, but also will bring speed, convenience, cost efficiencies and transparency benefitting customers,” said BSP Deputy Governor and incoming Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr.
“Mobile brings anytime, anywhere access to financial products and services for everyone. In this era of digital, banks must respond to the changing consumer landscape, so that they may be able to service more Filipinos that are still not within the reach of the banking and financial ecosystem. We are glad to be partnering with local banks with the guidance of BSP to realize that vision,” Villanueva explained.
FINTQ’s various digital lending platforms–which include Lendr, LANDBANK Mobile Loan Saver, and micro-lending Pera Agad–have since disbursed over P19 billion in loans to more than 130,000 borrowers, 70% of whom reside outside Metro Manila. This means the benefits of digital are now being felt by more Filipinos around the country, reaching far-flung cities and municipalities–a definite boost for financial inclusion nationwide.