Microlender Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) Inc. has secured a $4 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to increase its capacity to lend to low-income borrowers, particularly women.
In a statement, the lender said the loan is intended to grow its capacity to provide working capital for micro-borrowers, composed mostly of women and farmers.
“Lockdowns during the pandemic significantly reduced the income of women-owned micro-borrowers, forcing them to take more expensive loans from informal channels,” ADB Private Sector Financial Institutions Division director Christine Engstrom said.
Engstrom added that non-bank microfinancing is a viable formal lending alternative for underserved groups like women. “Boosting CARD’s capacity will improve livelihoods of low-income earners and help them withstand future crises by broadening their access to affordable finance,” she said.
Meanwhile, CARD MRI managing director Aristeo Dequito stated that the organization is devoted to assisting the socially and economically disadvantaged to contribute to eradicating poverty in the country.
“Our collaboration with ADB, other institutions, and individuals that share the same mission with CARD furthers financial inclusivity and contributes to our shared goal of sustainable livelihood and the realization of zero poverty in the Philippines. Together we and our partners strive toward our common goal of empowering Filipino families,” he said.
CARD provides low-interest loans without charging service fees. The lender is present in most provinces in the country.
It serves local neighborhood business owners, food vendors, clothes resellers, and backyard farmers and gardeners.
CARD’s digitalized loan applications and remote financial transactions using digital wallets allowed the lender to expand into rural areas.
CARD has over 1.3 million micro-borrowers as of December 2020, with 85 percent of them being women. Its loan portfolio is worth P8.8 billion.