CEBU-BASED Sun Savings Bank is opening two more branches this year, a top official of the bank said.
Sun Savings Bank president and chief executive officer Francisco Dizon said these two new branches will be located at the Cebu Business Park on the ground floor of Solinea and near Carbon Public Market along Plaridel St.
The latter, according to Dizon, is strategically positioned to serve the banking needs of small and medium business owners in the area, specifically those engaged in the agricultural value chain sector.
“We will provide financial aid, not just to those who grow and cultivate crops, but those who deliver and sell them in commercial areas,” said Dizon.
Recently, the bank was granted a P200-million loan by the Land Bank of the Philippines to support its initiative to extend financial help to the country’s agriculture sector.
“With the opening of the Carbon branch, we could reach out to more small and medium enterprises engaged in agri-related businesses,” said Dizon.
Data from the Agricultural Policy Credit Council showed the credit gap in the agriculture sector stood at P367 billion as of 2016, as the percentage of loans for agriculture along with fisheries and forestry was at a paltry 2.9 percent of total loans, significantly lower compared to the respective shares of consumer and real estate loans at 17.5 percent and 19.9 percent.
But since the enactment of the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009, compliance has been low, as banks hardly lend to the agriculture sector due to the perceived risks. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said most banks would rather pay the fines rather than reach out to the sector.
By the end of 2019, Sun Savings’ will have a total of seven branches.
The bank is present in Talisay City, Fuente Osmeña in Cebu City, Mandaue City, Carcar City and recently in Danao City, which opened in the latter part of 2018.
Sun Savings Bank is also keen on realizing its plan to beef up its digital banking services.
Dizon said they want to introduce their mobile banking (beta version) by the fourth quarter of this year, not only to remain relevant in the current banking landscape, but to also attract the new breed of individuals joining the formal economy.
Dizon said that for them to attract this tech-savvy generation, they would need to introduce better platforms for convenient banking.
“We are now in talks with the various suppliers to achieve this,” said Dizon.
The late BSP governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. had been urging banks to embrace innovation and rethink strategies to adapt to the rapid evolution of digital technology.
He said emerging digital solutions and services had intensified competition in financial institutions and this was also being taken advantage of by non-bank players. (KOC)