Bunye: A red-letter day at BanKo

Speaking Out
Bunye: A red-letter day at BanKo

FRIDAY marked a significant occasion at BanKo's head office located in BanKo Center, 220 Ortigas Avenue, North Greenhills. The event featured the presence of BanKo Chair Jojo Ocampo, President Jerome Minglana, SEME Lending Head Rod Mabiasen, Director Rodell Garcia, and myself, also a BanKo Director. We led the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was followed by the blessing of the newly renovated facilities by Father John of the Greenhills parish. One couldn't miss the ubiquitous standee of BanKo's celebrity endorser, Kathryn Bernardo.

Following a mass and a sumptuous lunch, Directors Jay de Luzuriaga, Jess Razon, Karl Kendrick Chua, JohnC Syquia, and CorSec Mia Gatmaytan joined us for a hybrid board meeting, immediately followed by a non-executive board members (NEB) meeting. 

The reason behind BanKo's upgraded facilities is the decision by parent company BPI to relocate its head office from Ayala North Exchange (ANE) to its current location at the Ayala Triangle Garden Tower 2. BPI's engineering team ensured that nothing was left behind, dismantling the offices at Ayala North Exchange and reassembling them at BanKo Center. Everything would have been perfect were it not for the absence of CCTV inside the elevator, as observed by Director de Luzuriaga.

BanKo, short for BPI Direct BanKo, Inc., A Savings Bank, is the result of a merger between two specialized thrift bank units of the Bank of the Philippine Islands: BPI Direct Savings Bank, the Philippines' first internet bank, and BPI BanKo, the country's first mobile savings bank. BanKo's mission is to promote financial inclusion by offering easy, convenient, and affordable loan products to support the operations and growth of self-employed microentrepreneurs (SEMEs). By enhancing the financial capabilities of its clients, BanKo aims to improve their quality of life and contribute to the country's economic growth.

As BPI's wholly-owned microfinance arm, BanKo has significantly increased its loan portfolio for Self-Employed Micro Entrepreneurs (SEMEs). In November, BanKo released PHP 1.38 billion bringing year-to-date releases to PHP 8.8 billion primarily through its flagship product, Negosyo Ko. Notably, 75 percent of SEME borrowers are women, such as Mrs. Elizabeth Arocena, the owner of Laza Meat Stall in Camiling, Tarlac. Besides its core product, BanKo has introduced JFC Agri-Loan Financing, tailored for small-scale farmers with incentivized loan repayment rates, and NegosyoKo Lite, an affordable loan product starting at PHP 10,000.

With a 20 percent market share in microfinance loans among Philippine banks, BanKo remains the country's second-largest microfinance bank. BanKo is committed to expanding and strengthening its customer touchpoints nationwide. As of November 30, it has 343 branches and branch-lite units in all 74 provinces and the National Capital Region, as well as a network of over 800 partner cash agents and payment partners.

BanKo boasts a team of over 1,700 loan officers and associates known as "BanKoMares" and "BanKoPares," who establish direct customer relationships and provide financial literacy discussions during the loan disbursement process.

With the recent approval by the BSP of the merger between BPI and Robinsons Bank, which owns Legaspi Savings Bank, it is not far fetch for BanKo to foray into “teachers loans” which remains a largely unserved market. Legaspi Savings Bank’s books consist mainly of ‘teachers loans”. 

Send feedback to totingbunye2000@gmail.com.


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