Landbank loans to priority sector up 20 pct

By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 20 2014 07:55 AM | Updated as of Jun 20 2014 03:55 PM

MANILA - The total loans extended by state-run Land Bank of the Philippines to its priority sectors has risen by 20 percent in the first quarter of the year, the bank announced yesterday.

Landbank said its outstanding loans to its priority sector has risen to P251.5 billion in the first three months of the year, up from P209.1 billion in the same period last year.

The share of the first quarter outstanding loans in its regular loan portfolio of P310.9 billion has also risen by 81 percent from an average of 77 percent in the same period in the past three years.

“The steady rise in our loan portfolio reflects the bank’s wider credit outreach and aggressive effort to align our credit support with the national government’s thrust towards inclusive growth,” said Landbank president Gilda Pico.

The bank’s priority sectors for loan extension include small farmers/agrarian reform beneficiaries and fishers (SFFs) and their associations, microenterprises and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), agriculture and fisheries businesses, agriculture and fisheries-related projects of local government units and government-owned and controlled corporations, communications, transportation, housing, education, healthcare, environment-related projects, tourism, and utilities.

Landbank said loan releases to small farmers and fishers from January to March reached P11.4 billion, up 47 percent from P7.7 billion released in the same period last year.

These loans were channeled through 508 farmers and fisher cooperatives, 114 countryside financial institutions and 123 irrigators’ associations benefiting 163, 482 small farmers and fishers.

The Landbank is the primary banking arm of the government for providing financial assistance to smallholder farmers and beneficiaries of agrarian reform.

Outside of its regular loan portfolio, Landbank also engages with the Agriculture department for microfinancing of agriculture projects by agrarian reform beneficiaries that do not qualify for the regular lending programs of the bank and other formal means of obtaining credit.

This year, the government targets to lend out P1.336 billion under the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP), a five-year credit and capacity development program for agrarian reform beneficiaries.