Mainstreaming Banking with the Poor in the Philippines
AbstractOutside of Bangladesh, the replication of Grameen banking, with standardized group loans to poor women, has not fared well in terms of outreach and sustainability. Similarly in the Philippines, in the old world of social banking and directed credit, Grameen banking was found to be donor-driven and internal resource mobilization minimal; costs were exorbitant, and interest rates inadequate to cover costs. This changed fundamentally when microfinance, in the late 1990s, entered a new world of sustainable institution building. As Grameen banking was taken over by commercially operating rural banks and by NGOs which turned into rural banks, it became a profitable financial product with a rapidly expanding outreach to the enterprising poor. Producers Bank in Cabanatuan is one of an increasing number of privately owned rural banks which made good use of financial and capacity building resources provided by the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The bank first adopted, and then substantially modified, Grameen banking, thereby turning it into a commercially viable financial product with increasing outreach to the entrepreneurial poor as a new market segment.