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April 12, 2024

Boosting financial inclusion: ADB funds rural bank digitalization

Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) is set to disburse grants totaling $665,000 (approximately P32.28 million) to bolster digital transformation and financial inclusion efforts among nine local rural banks and a bank consortium.

The grants are part of ADB’s Fintech for Inclusion Transformation (FIT) program, backed by the High-Level Technology Fund and the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund. Collaborating partners include the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines.

Benefiting from the initiative are six banks from Luzon, one from the Visayas, and two from Mindanao, including Banco San Vicente, Camalig Bank, MVSM Bank, Rural Bank of Guinobatan, Rural Bank of Medina, Rural Bank of Montalban, Rural Bank of Porac, Rural Bank of Silay, and Rural Bank of Tandag.

Additionally, the Good Bank, a consortium comprising three rural banks, is set to receive support.

With a primary focus on underserved sectors such as women, farmers, fisherfolk, and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), these rural banks aim to enhance financial accessibility.

ADB’s Director for the Finance Sector Group, Emma Xiaoqin Fan, emphasized that the FIT program builds upon the bank’s commitment to leveraging technology for bolstering efficiency, sustainability, and resilience within the finance sector, particularly in underserved segments across the country.

The grants are expected to facilitate operational streamlining through digitalization, leading to reduced costs, expanded outreach, improved customer service, and fortified financial institutions, aiding in their resilience.