THE Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) is rolling out a P1 billion lending program to empower rural banks to digitalize their banking operations to reach and service more underserved and unbanked Filipinos.

Through the Digitalization of Countryside Financial Institutions (Digi-CFI) Lending Program, Landbank will finance digitalization projects, including payment for subscription or licensing fee for commercial software or outsource information technology (IT) systems.

Under the program, the state-run bank can also finance the acquisition of hardware or computer equipment and purchase or development of commercial software, application, or system, including maintenance and support.

Bank president and chief executive Cecilia Borromeo highlighted the importance of digital transformation for rural banks to remain resilient and relevant amid the evolving banking landscape.

“Landbank aims to boost the capacity of rural banks to contribute to the digitalization wave. The possiblities for growth are endless, with the end goal of promoting financial inclusion and providing innovative and responsive digital financial services,” said Borromeo.

Under the Digi-CFI Lending program, rural, thrift and cooperative banks can borrow up to 80 percent of their total project cost with an interest rate of five percent per year for term loans, fixed for the first year and subject to repricing thereafter, and payable up to 5 years.

For short-term loans, the prevailing rate of Landbank at the time of availment applies, but not lower than five percent per annum, payable up to one year, and available via a 180-day promissory note.

As of end-April 2022, Landbank’s outstanding loans had reached P9.66 billion in support of 88 rural financial institutions nationwide, underscoring the Bank’s steadfast commitment to advance financial inclusion and countryside development. (with PR)