LANDBANK brings financial inclusion and banking services to Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte

October 17, 2019

(Top photo) Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale Corvera (7th from left) and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo (8th from left) lead the ceremonial awarding of ACEF loans to palay farmer Agapito A. Bacalso Sr. (5th from right) and corn farmer Violita T. Prandas (4th from right) during the LANDBANK Financial Inclusion Forum in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte attended by more than 600 small farmers (lower photo). Also introduced during the program was Baug CARP Beneficiaries MPC as the Bank’s Agent Banking Partners in Las Nieves, led by General Manager Luxmi Auxillo (5th from left). Joining them are Las Nieves Mayor Avelina Rosales (9th from left), Vice Mayor Larry Bautista (6th from left), and LANDBANK officials led by Branch Banking Sector Head EVP Joselito Gutierrez (3rd from left), Mindanao Lending Group Head FVP Charlotte I. Conde (2nd from left), East Mindanao Branches Group Head FVP Camilo C. Leyba (rightmost), and CARAGA Lending Center Head Department Manager Linbert Fajunio (leftmost).

LAS NIEVES, Agusan del Norte – For most residents of this 2nd class municipality in the northern part of the province, farming and fishing has been the way of life for its close to 30,000 residents, with the nearest banks and financial institutions still two hours away from the nearby cities of Bayugan and Butuan.

Las Nieves is one of the country’s 536 cities and municipalities out of 1,634 that have remained unbanked according to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

This year, it is one of eight municipalities where Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) is launching its Agent Banking Program, which will provide the public with basic banking transactions such as Point-of-Sale (POS) cash-out, prepaid card sale, card reload/card refund/withdrawal, balance inquiry, and bills payment.

Through partnerships with client cooperatives, associations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and private entities, LANDBANK’s Agent Banking Program is targeted to further expand its reach in remote and unbanked areas without the Bank’s presence.

During LANDBANK’s 5th Financial Inclusion (FI) Forum for 2019 here last October 12, 2019, the Bank formally introduced the Baug CARP Beneficiaries MPC (BCBMPC) as its first Agent Banking Partner in Las Nieves.

Launched in 2016, and now on its fourth year run, the half-day forum, dubbed “Ipon at Kabuhayan para sa ating Kababayan,” gathered more than 600 attendees, majority of whom are farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

“This is part of LANDBANK’s efforts in bringing our products and services closer to the countryside. With this campaign, we hope to uplift the lives of our fellow Filipinos, particularly the small farmers and fishers, and their families, who are in dire need of financial support for their agricultural livelihood activities,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.

BCBMPC started as an association of small fishers of shrimps and crabs in 1987. By 1995, they were officially recognized by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as an ARB-cooperative with 110 members. They were first granted a production loan by LANDBANK on October 12, 1998.

And exactly 21 years later, on October 12, 2019, LANDBANK has now partnered with BCBMPC as the Bank’s Agent Banking Partner in Las Nieves under the Agent Banking Program. The Cabadbaran City-based cooperative now boasts of 20,000 coop members, with total assets of P700 million.

The LANDBANK FI Forum is an initiative of the Bank in line with its financial inclusion thrust of serving unbanked communities across the country. Since its launch, LANDBANK has helped bring over 10,000 underserved Filipinos under the umbrella of formal financial services from 28 municipalities.

Las Nieves is the 5th stop of the FI Forums this year. A total of 3,252 farmers and fishers have already participated in the first five areas of the FI Forums namely, Sto. Niño, Cagayan; Rizal, Palawan; Libacao, Aklan; and Aloguinsan, Cebu. FI Forums will also be conducted in Mayantoc, Tarlac; Claveria, Misamis Oriental; and Polillo Islands, Quezon within the year.

During the event, LANDBANK featured modules on financial literacy to help farmers improve their income through the proper management of finances, as well as Bank products and services, particularly its direct lending programs for farmers.

These programs include the Accessible Funds For Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBs), the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), and the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

At the same time, BCBMPC received a ceremonial check from LANDBANK in the amount of Php200 million representing its loan from the Bank for relending to small farmers and fishers.

Joining LANDBANK President Borromeo at the event were Agusan del Norte Governor Dale B. Corvera, Las Nieves Mayor Avelina S. Rosales, LANDBANK Executive Vice President for Branch Banking Sector Joselito P. Gutierrez, East Mindanao Branches Group Head First Vice President Camilo C. Leyba, Mindanao Lending Group Head First Vice President Charlotte I. Conde, CARAGA Lending Center Head Department Manager Linbert Fajunio, and Butuan Branch Head Department Manager Augustus Manuel E. Mantua.

Meanwhile, farmers who availed of the ACEF loan program were also recognized during the event, namely Agapito A. Bacalso Sr. (palay production) and Violita T. Prandas (corn production).

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