IFC and CARD MRI
partner to help Filipina entrepreneurs weather COVID-19
December 22, 2020
MANILA – Women
entrepreneurs in the Philippines stand to benefit from new loans
issued to two of the country's largest microfinance institutions,
which will help keep businesses afloat and save jobs as the
Philippines grapples with the economic impacts of the COVID-19
The International Finance
Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, plans to issue
up to 750 million Philippine pesos ($15 million) in debt financing
to CARD Bank Inc. and CARD SME Bank Inc. which are part of the
Center for Agriculture and Rural Development – Mutually Reinforcing
Institutions Group (CARD MRI).
The investment aims to
benefit over 60,000 companies, 44,000 of which are micro, small and
medium enterprises (MSMEs) owned or led by women. The banks have
more than 120 branches and serve four million customers. Support
from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) in the form
of performance-based incentives will help the banks reach
pre-defined targets for lending to women-owned/led small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
entrepreneurs are fighting to recover from the grave effects of the
pandemic, and we are right behind them every step of the way" said
Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CARD
MRI. "We believe that a poverty-free Philippines can be achieved by
empowering these women to reach their full potential. Through this
partnership with IFC, we can reach more women-owned and led MSMEs
and help them continue their journey towards a better future."
The funding will provide
critical working capital to MSMEs, which have been especially
disadvantaged by the pandemic due to the lack of funding buffers and
capacity to restart operations during strict quarantine periods.
MSMEs account for 99.5 percent of businesses in the Philippines.
More than half of those businesses are led by women, and the largest
share of companies operate in wholesale and retail, which have been
particularly impacted by COVID-19.
The financing package is
part of IFC's $8 billion global COVID-19 fast-track financing
facility, aimed at helping businesses stay afloat during the ongoing
public health crisis. The loans are being provided through IFC's
Working Capital Solutions Program, a $2 billion facility that
provides funding to emerging-market banks to extend credit to help
businesses shore up their working capital.
"We are delighted to
continue our long-standing relationship with Dr. Alip and the CARD
MRI Group," said Rosy Khanna, Regional Industry Director for
Financial Institutions Asia Pacific at IFC. "The success of
women-owned businesses in the Philippines is critical to the success
of the overall economy. Our investment will help provide much-needed
working capital at a crucial time for micro, small and medium sized
businesses, helping them to sustain operations and save jobs so they
are on a better footing for a successful post-crisis recovery."
The transaction is IFC's
first investment in the Philippines as part of its Banking on Women
business, which provides financing and expertise to financial
institutions to help them profitably finance women-owned businesses.
Women customers present a substantial growth opportunity for
financial institutions and financial-technology companies, known as
fintechs. Women own and lead roughly 9.7 million formal SMEs and
63.8 million micro-businesses in emerging markets, with a total
estimated unmet credit demand of $1.5 trillion.
The transaction builds on
a relationship between IFC and CARD MRI that began in 2007, when IFC
helped CARD MRI develop an SME lending platform. Since then, the two
institutions have worked together on a series of initiatives,
including agrifinance, digital risk management and the Binhi Crop
Insurance Program, which protects farmers from the adverse effects
of natural disasters.
CARD MRI aims to empower
socially and economically challenged women and families by providing
access to financial, educational, social and health services. The
group has 6.9 million clients and insures over 25 million people in
Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a collaborative
partnership among the 14 governments that have made financial
contributions, six multilateral development banks that serve as
implementing partners, and other public and private stakeholders.
We-Fi was formally established in October 2017 as a Financial
Intermediary Fund hosted by the World Bank. We-Fi invests in
programs and projects that help unlock billions of dollars in
financing to address the full range of barriers facing women
entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and
mentoring, while strengthening policy, legal and regulatory
frameworks. As one of the We-Fi Implementing Partners, IFC supports
private sector clients with investment and advisory services to
expand financial services and market access for women-owned/led
firms, as well as increasing the capacity of women entrepreneurs to
run high-growth businesses. For more information, visit www.we-fi.org.
IFC – a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global
development institution focused on the private sector in emerging
markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital,
expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in
developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion
in private companies and financial institutions in developing
countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme
poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About CARD MRI
CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) is a group of
institutions with a holistic approach to development. Established in
1986, CARD MRI has continuously provided socio-economically
challenged families with access to financial, microinsurance,
education, livelihood, health and other capacity-building services.
CARD Bank and CARD SME Bank are both member-institutions of CARD MRI
with clients served of 3.3M and 1M individuals, respectively.