The CARD Banking Group composed of CARD Bank, Inc. (A Microfinance-Oriented Rural Bank), CARD SME Bank (A Thrift Bank), and CARD MRI Rizal Bank Inc. (A Microfinance-Oriented Rural Bank) paid a courtesy call on the newly-appointed Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Dr. Felife M. Medalla on August 1, 2022. During the meeting, the banking group discussed its initiatives in financial inclusion in the country.
Joining Dr. Medalla were BSP Deputy Governors Chuchi G. Fonacier and Bernadette T. Romulo-Puyat. Meanwhile, institutional heads, members of the Board of Directors, and other senior officers also attended the online meeting to represent the CARD Banking Group.
“Throughout the years, the CARD Banking Group has worked closely with BSP in ensuring that no one gets left behind in our journey towards financial inclusion. We are grateful for Former Governor Nestor Espenilla’s recognition of the contribution of microfinance to poverty eradication and for Former Governor Benjamin Diokno’s support to the MFI industry’s digital transformation. Now, we look forward to continuing this partnership of ensuring to include the poorest of the poor in our financial system under the leadership of Dr. Medalla,” CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip stated.
CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito presented the operations updates highlighting a total of 5.68 million clients served from the three mentioned banks. Adding 2.55 million clients served from the Center for Agriculture and Rural Bank (CARD), Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), the CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions has served a total of 8.23 million clients nationwide. As of June 2022, it has a loan outstanding of PhP 32.77 billion and has maintained a high repayment rate of 98.11% despite the on-going pandemic. It has also insured more than 24.79 individuals through the CARD Mutual Benefit Association (CARD MBA).
CARD Bank, Inc. President and CEO Ms. Marivic A. Austria also shared the initiatives of CARD MRI in digital financial inclusion, which is currently one of the main advocacies of BSP. konek2CARD, the group’s mobile banking app, records a total of 2.35 million registered users. To reach more communities, it has also tapped more than 14,000 konek2CARD agents. There are also 155 Digital Cash Machines available for use nationwide. Further, other digital initiatives reported were loan processing using chatbots, remittance services, and the pilot implementation of a merchant application allowing sari-sari store owners to use their savings to place orders for inventory.
BSP Governor Dr. Medalla commended the group for its contribution to the microfinance industry and digital financial inclusion.
“Because of the policies implemented by BSP that are tailored to the needs of MFIs and its clients, it has nurtured an enabling environment for the microfinance industry. With the support of BSP, CARD MRI will continue to champion financial inclusion, most especially in the hardest-to-reach communities,” Dequito concluded.
In 2013, the CARD Banking Group became the recipient of BSP’s Hall of Fame Award after being recognized as a Financial Inclusion Champion for three consecutive years. It has then received the Gold Hall of Fame Award as the Outstanding Financial Inclusion Champion in 2015.