President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this morning thanked the rural Bankers association of the Philippines (RBAP) for helping the country’s marginalized people or the “base of the pyramid” as RBAP’s 52ndanniversary theme states.
“With your assistance, the Phlippines earned the respect and praises of multilateral finance institutions for being number three in the world and the best in Asia in terms of microfinance operations,” the President said.
Aside from the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, other global groups such as “the Economist” magazine have also taken notice of the robust growth in microfinance operations of the Philippines.
The President said the creditable economic performance of the country “enabled us to continuously grow for the past eight years. In fact we have not been through the normal boom and bust cycle since 2001. These same strong fundamentals will unable us to keep growing despite the destructions brought by typhoons “Ondoy” “Pepeng”, and “Quedan” and, with your help, we can propel the Philippines forward in the age of the First world by 2010.”
The President also acknowledged the role of Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), headed buy its president and chief executive officer Gilda Pico, in channeling P180 billion to retail financial institutions like rural banks.
Rural Banking was introduced by the late President Elpidio Quirino in the late 1940s to be a catalyst for countryside development. As a senator, the President authored the law rehabilitating the rural banking system in the country.
Last year, privately-owned rural banks posted an outstanding loan portfolio of P6 billion to 290,000 clients.