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IFC Supports Card Bank and CARD SME Bank to Increase SME Lending, Microfinance in the Philippines

Manila, the Philippines, December 11, 2015 --IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a seven-year loan of up to Philippine Peso 700 million ($15.7 million) to CARD Bank, Inc. and CARD SME Bank, Inc., to be lent to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), microfinance borrowers, and women in rural Philippines.
Almost three-quarters of the poor in the Philippines live in rural areas. Poverty among farmers is three times higher than in other sectors. Without access to formal financial institutions, a majority of the population borrows from informal sources. Increasing MSME access to financing will enable the sector to create jobs, while affordable microfinance will better meet the capital needs of the poor.  
CARD Bank will receive upwards of Philippine Peso 540 million ($12.1 million) of the total loan amount. With IFC’s investment, CARD Bank can grow its microfinance client base and establish new branches, especially in rural areas. CARD SME Bank will receive up to Philippine Peso 160 million ($3.6 million) to lend to MSMEs.
“CARD Bank and CARD SME Bank were founded to help poor people work themselves out of poverty,” Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, chairman of both banks, said. “We are privileged to have IFC as a long-time partner in our mission.”
IFC has provided advisory services to CARD Bank since 2007, when it helped develop an SME lending platform, which CARD SME Bank implemented in 2009. In 2013, IFC helped CARD SME Bank design an agri-finance strategy, which was expanded in early 2015 to reach more regions and farmers. In 2014, IFC assisted CARD-Pioneer Micro-Insurance develop insurance products to protect farmers from typhoon risks.
“IFC’s experience worldwide provides evidence that making loans more affordable to people and MSMEs through formal financial institutions quickens the pace at which people are lifted out of poverty,” said Marcos Brujis IFC Financial Institutions Group Global Director. “We commend CARD Bank and Card SME Bank for their efforts to reduce poverty among their clients.”
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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About CARD Bank
CARD Bank was set up in 1997 and now is the largest microfinance institution in the Philippines with a customer base of 1.4 million of which around 90 percent are women. CARD Bank offers a range of products for the micro-entrepreneurs such as savings and loan products and micro-insurance through a distribution network of 61 branches/area/regional offices and 380 office units/service units throughout the country as of March 2015.
About CARD SME Bank
CARD SME Bank formerly known as the Rural Bank of Santo Tomas (Batangas), Inc., started operations in 1962. CARD SME’s customers are comprised primarily of customers who have “graduated” from the microfinance bank, CARD Bank. CARD SME helps facilitate the transition of these micro-entrepreneurs to small businesses and addresses a gap not being filled by the commercial banks. As of March 2015, CARD SME had 11 branches/area/regional offices and 120 office units/service units servicing 228,000 clients.