THE microfinance arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) plans to onboard about 100,000 clients in its latest mobile phone application that seeks to expand financial inclusion among sari-sari store vendors.
The app that BPI Direct BanKo Inc. (BanKo) dubbed “e’Nay” seeks to provide a digital and convenient option for sari-sari stores in managing and paying their inventory.
BanKo tapped payment system operator Innovative Research and Intelligent Solutions Corp. as its partner for the app that is a homophone of the Tagalog word for mother (“Inay”).
Documents provided by the micro-lender explained that owners of sari-sari stores can order their supplies from wholesalers and pay for these using a PondoKo savings account linked to the app.
The app is currently available in Bulacan and Cavite. The micro-lender plans to roll out the app in Pampanga and Laguna.
According to BanKo Financial Inclusion and Microfinance Solutions Business Head Rodolfo K. Mabiasen Jr., the savings bank opened 70,000 accounts of sari-sari stores that are automatically enrolled in the app.
“When we launch the app, we will immediately go back to them to teach them how to use the app,” Mabiasen said during a briefing last Monday.
The executive said they target to activate all the enrolled accounts by the end of this year. He added they estimate reaching 100,000 sari-sari stores “after one year of the launch.”
Mabiasen said they also plan to roll-out a loan portfolio within the app that their sari-sari store clients could tap if they want to expand their working capital.
He added they are also open to partnering with more wholesalers aside from their current one, which is Ultra Mega Supermarket. Mabiasen said mothers were in their mind when they created the app.
“We wanted to know their pain points and discovered that sari-sari stores are disjointed and disorganized in their supply chain,” he added.
Mabiasen said BanKo discovered these owners “don’t usually have an inventory management system and buy merchandise based on gut feel.”
“We wanted to address that through the e’Nay app, which is easy and convenient to use even for those who may not be tech-savvy,” he added.
BanKo claims to have supported over 290,000 self-employed microentrepreneurs, informal workers and the unbanked and underbanked segment through over P40 billion in cumulative microfinance loans since 2016. Currently, nearly 32,000 sari-sari store owners have BanKo loans, the firm said.
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