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BPI vows more support to agri-based businesses

THE Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) vowed to increase its funding support to micro-, small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in the agriculture sector.

The listed bank said in a statement on Tuesday there are plans to increase presence in the area of agricultural enterprises, as the bank recognizes ‘agripreneurs’ as “essential drivers for economic resilience and recovery.”

“We are reaching out to show our interest to support the agricultural value chain including logistics, distribution, storage, and retail and wholesale trade,” BPI Business Banking Head Eric Roberto M. Luchangco said.

By expanding their presence in agricultural areas, BPI aims to encourage the so-called “agripreneurs” to use its targeted funding solutions to meet their financial requirements for working capital, trade, or plans for business expansion.

“BPI wants agripreneurs to set up a business deposit account and take advantage of its online banking platform for easy transactions with their clients and suppliers given the mobility and quarantine restrictions,” the bank said.

BPI also aims “to reduce the challenges in borrowing money by coming up with a SME term loan program, which requires fewer documents, with no collateral requirements, and faster turnaround time,” it added.

Earlier this year, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) survey revealed that local banks voted the mandatory credits to the agriculture-agrarian (agri-agra) sector as the most challenging in terms of regulatory compliance.

In order to evaluate the impact of local banking regulations, the BSP recently asked banks to rank five areas which they find challenging in terms of regulatory compliance. The results showed that except for rural and cooperative banks, compliance with mandatory credits to agri-agra remains as the “most challenging.”

The other regulations that banks cited in their top five include anti-money laundering requirements, credit risk management, operational risk management and information and technology risk management.

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