Firms, Aid Groups Help Filipinos Borrow From Banks Instead of Sharks

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Housewife Jenny Orquiza, whose home was damaged by super typhoon Haiyan, did not imagine that the Philippines’ biggest natural disaster would lead to her getting something she never had – a bank account.

After the November 2013 calamity, the 33-year-old mother of three had a piece of luck. She was one of 26,000 people who received $90 from global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps via the Philippines’ first mobile phone-based savings bank, called BanKO.

Orquiza used the money to repair her home in Merinda, an hour from Haiyan’s ground zero in Tacloban, and became part of a pilot lending project organised by Oregon-headquartered Mercy Corps and BanKO.

The project allowed her to set up a small convenience store with loans totalling 10,000 pesos ($223) – which she collected at a nearby pawnshop that is an agent for the bank.

“Now I know that banking can be done through mobile phones,” said Orquiza, who uses a 10-year-old Nokia phone to access emergency cash.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

financial inclusion, mobile finance