The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has asserted that its upcoming merger with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) will strengthen government efforts to build a stronger, unified banking institution capable of serving coconut farmers and other workers in the agricultural sector.
LANDBANK President-CEO Cecilia Borromeo said that the merger will promote unprecedented rural development, in keeping with President Duterte’s goal of expanding financial inclusion among Filipinos, especially those in the countryside who belong to the underserved and unbanked sectors.
Borromeo, a former scholar of the Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED), said coconut farmers will be able to take advantage of the established expertise of LANDBANK in lending to the agriculture and agribusiness sectors.
“LANDBANK’s track record of being consistently compliant with the Agri Agra Law shows our commitment to perform our mandate, to empower not only the farmers but all workers in the agriculture sector,” she said.
Republic Act No. 10000, or the Agri Agra Law, mandates banks to allot 15 percent of their total lending portfolio for agriculture loans and 10 percent of its total loanable funds to agrarian reform beneficiaries.
As of December 2020, LANDBANK’s agriculture loans reached 76.95 percent of its total loan portfolio, significantly above the minimum requirement of 15 percent. Agrarian reform lending, meanwhile, hit 11.52 percent during the same period, also above the 10 percent required under the Agri Agra law.
LANDBANK’s agriculture lending has been consistently growing from PHP 222.05 billion in 2018, to PHP 236.31 billion in 2019, and PHP 237.62 billion in 2020.
As of end-May 2021, LANDBANK’s loans to agriculture reached PHP 230.02 billion, an increase of PHP 73 million net from the PHP 229.29 billion level in April 2021.
The number of farmers and fishers assisted by LANDBANK reached 2,734,572 as of May 2021, an increase of 31,323 from 2,703,249 in April 2021.
“With the merged resources of LANDBANK and UCPB, we can bring closer to the farmers our services, as we are able to tap a combined total of 722 branches and servicing units, including those in the provinces,” Borromeo said.
She added that the proposed merger “will also be beneficial to existing UCPB clients because they can access the bigger branch and ATM (automated teller machine) network of LANDBANK and will be able to avail of a wider range of products and services such as the LANDBANK digital banking service.”
LANDBANK’s management expertise is also expected to provide support to UCPB, thus protecting the interest of coconut farmers in the would-be merged banks.
"Our goal is to ensure that we are able to efficiently manage and protect government resources in these banks for the ultimate benefit of the Filipino people. With the merger, we will be in a better position to grow our loan portfolio in order to meet the needs of the people, especially the unbanked and underserved Filipinos," Borromeo said.
“The merger will also mean better financial services for UCPB clients, especially those who are in the farm sector. For the clients of both banks, the merger will mean they can now rely on a stronger and better capitalized institution with solid government support,” she added.
On the part of the UCPB, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Liduvino Geron said, “The merger enables UCPB and its clients to benefit from the strength, stability, scale and reach of LANDBANK. This also allows us to pursue our original mandate to serve coconut farmers nationwide while providing a wider range of products and services to our clients composed of individuals, private and government institutions, middle-market companies, and small enterprises nationwide.”
Under Executive Order No. 142, President Duterte ordered the LANDBANK and UCPB to enter into a merger applicable to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and recognized by regulatory agencies.
LANDBANK, which is the biggest public sector bank in the country, will be the surviving entity under the merger.
Once the merger is concluded, LANDBANK will remain as the industry’s second biggest bank in terms of assets and deposits.
LANDBANK lends financial muscle to DA-Go Negosyo agri program
The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has partnered with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Go Negosyo to support their existing coaching program and service the financial requirements of eligible farmers, fishers, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide. Under the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP), LANDBANK will facilitate loan applications and provide credit assistance to graduate-mentees coached and trained by Go Negosyo and DA. The Bank will also assist in the development of new training and mentorship modules for startup and expanding agribusiness ventures. During the virtual Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing ceremony on 20 September 2021, LANDBANK welcomed the opportunity to match its loan programs with the specific requirements of eligible KAMMP graduates and provide accessible and affordable credit assistance to support their livelihood. “We are proud to be part of this meaningful and timely undertaking tailored to the needs of the agriculture sector. This is aligned with our ongoing efforts in widening credit access to farmers, fishers, and MSMEs nationwide,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Secretary Joey A. Concepcion highlighted the impact of LANDBANK’s involvement in KAMMP towards achieving its goal under the Mentorship, Market, and Money (3Ms) Principle. “These efforts from LANDBANK to provide financing to entrepreneurs under KAMMP are definitely a welcome development. I would like to thank Secretary Dar and President Borromeo for joining forces with Go Negosyo to really try and improve the lives of the Filipino people,” said Presidential Adviser Concepcion. For his part, DA Secretary William D. Dar noted the importance of adapting digital innovations to transform agriculture in the country. “Mahalaga po ang technology and innovation as part of this mentorship program para sa gano’n ay madagdagan ang kaalaman ng mga nagnenegosyo sa agrikultura at mapadali ang kanilang paghahanap-buhay,” said Secretary Dar. LANDBANK is looking to launch within the year its Digital Lending System (DLS), which will facilitate online loan applications for the safety and convenience of farmers and fishers. This move is in line with the National Government’s health and safety protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its Ease of Doing Business campaign. From January to July 2021, LANDBANK has conducted 20 virtual trainings for 168 cooperatives nationwide facilitated by the LANDBANK Countryside Development Foundation, Inc. (LCDFI), while 85 MSMEs have attended the Bank’s new webinars from July to August 2021 to strengthen their recovery strategy under the new normal. LANDBANK’s partnership with DA and Go Negosyo builds on the Bank’s ongoing efforts to provide accessible and timely agricultural credit as part of serving the nation.LEARN MORE
LANDBANK-funded oxygen-generating plants breathe hope to provincial hospitals
The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has approved a P94.5-million term loan for the construction of the first government-owned oxygen-generating plant in the Province of Sorsogon. In partnership with the Provincial Government of Sorsogon under the leadership of Gov. Francis Joseph G. Escudero, LANDBANK will finance the purchase and installation of the oxygen-generating facility to be stationed at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital. This will help increase the supply of medical oxygen to all nine (9) government hospitals in the province and benefit its more than 800,000 residents, as well as those from other neighboring provinces. The establishment of this facility is part of the local government’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, particularly now with the rising demand for medical oxygen caused by the recent surge in infections. The plant will also help lower the costs for tank refilling from P490 per tank to only P157. At present, the province sources medical oxygen from only one supplier in Camarines Sur. The P94.5-million financing for the oxygen plant—which is expected to be completed in early 2022—forms part of LANDBANK’s intensified support to LGUs nationwide in providing basic health services, especially amid the ongoing pandemic. “LANDBANK remains committed to serving the nation at the frontlines of our battle against the pandemic. Alongside our LGU partners, we stand ready to service growth and recovery requirements, which include boosting local healthcare services and providing support to medical frontliners and their constituents,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. LANDBANK also financed a P29-million oxygen plant for the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental in 2010. Located in the City of Silay, the LANDBANK-funded facility has been supplying medical-grade oxygen to almost all district hospitals in the province for the past 10 years. Since the onset of the pandemic last year, the oxygen plant has been providing free medical oxygen to local public health institutions and COVID-isolation facilities, namely the Cadiz City District Hospital, Valladolid District Hospital, Provincial Healing Center in E.B. Magalona, and the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.LEARN MORE
LANDBANK, LTFRB partner for faster cash payout to PUV operators
The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has teamed up with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in the relaunch of the Service Contracting Program for public utility vehicle (PUV) operators to ensure quicker and more efficient disbursement of cash payments. With a Program fund of P3 billion, LANDBANK will facilitate the crediting of cash payments to eligible PUV operators through their existing LANDBANK accounts and other partner outlets via InstaPay or PESONet. Under the Program, qualified PUV operators will receive the payouts weekly while providing free rides to frontline healthcare workers and Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) to support their mobility requirements during the ongoing pandemic. In the virtual launch of the Service Contracting Program Phase 2 held on 10 September 2021, LANDBANK expressed its commitment to help provide PUV operators and drivers nationwide with sustainable livelihood amid reduced ridership resulting from Community Quarantine periods. “We welcome this collaboration under the Service Contracting Program Phase 2 to deliver prompt financial assistance to PUV operators nationwide towards ensuring the efficient, safe, and uninterrupted operations of public transportation under the new normal,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. During the virtual launch event, the LTFRB encouraged participants of the Program to open a LANDBANK account so they can quickly receive the payouts, as disbursement to other accounts will take longer due to additional processes. “We have encouraged and suggested na ‘yung lalahok dito sa Service Contracting Program ay kukuha at mag-oopen ng LANDBANK account para diretso na agad sa kanila, in real-time po ang pagbabayad,” said LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin B. Delgra III. LANDBANK is committed to contribute to the National Government’s continuing efforts to advance the country’s transportation sector and provide the riding public safe, secure, and convenient transport services in the new normal. Through the SPEED PUV (Special Package for Environment-Friendly and Efficiently-Driven Public Utility Vehicles) and the I-RESCUE for BUS Transport Lending Programs, LANDBANK supports the purchase of modern public utility jeepneys and buses by providing affordable financing to transport cooperatives and corporations. As of August 2021, the Bank has approved P2.32 billion in loans for the acquisition of 1,093 modern units under the SPEED PUV, while another P4 billion is being processed for 43 additional loan applications.LEARN MORE