ADB to provide grant to PH banks for digital transformation

By Anna Leah Gonzales

February 19, 2024, 4:46 pm

MANILA – Nine rural banks and a bank consortium in the Philippines will receive grants from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) amounting to USD655,000 to implement digital transformation solutions to better service underserved and unbanked sectors.

In a statement Monday, the ADB said these grant awardees include 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.

The Good Bank Consortium, meanwhile, is composed of three rural banks.

The awardees were chosen from rural banks nationwide serving women, farmers, fisherfolk, and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, which submitted their digital transformation project proposals following the program’s launch in June 2023.

The ADB hosted a series of workshops and consultations with industry experts to assist the applicants in creating viable digital transformation solutions.

The bank also engaged a consulting firm to evaluate proposals and conduct due diligence, interviews, and assessment of the impact and institutional health of qualified applicants.

The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are supporting the grant program.

According to the ADB, the grants are part of its Fintech for Inclusion Transformation (FIT) program funded by the High-Level Technology Fund and the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund.

“The FIT program builds on ADB’s efforts to utilize technology to increase the efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of the finance sector, especially those which service underserved sectors in the country,” ADB Director for the Finance Sector Group Emma Xiaoqin Fan said.

The FIT program is part of the ADB-financed Inclusive Finance Development Program, which supported government reforms to expand Filipinos’ access to financial services, especially the unbanked segment of the population.

The reforms are linked to the government’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. (PNA)