MANILA - BPI on Tuesday said it would increase support for agriculture-related small and medium enterprises, through its Business Banking unit.
The bank is "looking to increase its presence" in the area of agricultural enterprises as it recognizes the sector's contribution to economic resilience and recovery, said BPI Business Banking head Eric Luchangco.
BPI is encouraging "agripreneurs" to use its targeted funding solutions to meet their financial needs such as working capital, trade, or expansion plans, the lender said.
“To reduce the hurdles of agripreneurs and to remain relevant to the Philippine economy, we had to increase our presence in this base. By helping fund the businesses of our clients, we are able to help everyone across the economy recover and find more opportunities moving forward,” Luchangco said during a BPI webinar called “Angat Agri-Entrepreneur”.
“We are reaching out to show our interest to support the agricultural value chain including logistics, distribution, storage, and retail and wholesale trade,” he added.
The bank cited the case of quail farmer and entrepreneur Denrick Alcaraz, who was able to expand his business with the help of borrowed capital from BPI despite the difficulties spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have put off our expansion plan for a while because of the pandemic. Because of BPI’s help, we now have the opportunity in our hands to expand while the situation is getting better and more people get vaccinated,” Alcaraz said.
The Ayala-led lender said agricultural entrepreneurs should set up a business deposit account and leverage the online banking platform during the COVID-119 pandemic.
BPI said it also eyes reducing roadblocks in borrowing money with its SME term loan program that requires fewer documents, no collateral and has a faster turnaround time.
The bank said it was working with partners such as the Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council and Globe myBusiness to introduce other opportunities.
BPI has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to help more entrepreneurs bounce back and to further financial inclusion in the country.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier said consumers should take advantage of lower interest rates. The central bank has kept key interest rate at 2 percent.
Businesses in the country, whether big or small, have been dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions it entails. Firms have resorted to cost-cutting measures such as retrenchment, reduction in operation while some have temporarily or permanently closed due to the pandemic.
Experts have said the Philippines could see the start of a positive economic growth in the second quarter. Gross domestic product shrank at a slower 4.2 percent in Q1, compared to an 8.3 percent contraction in Q4 last year.