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SBFIC and CARD SME Bank successfully concludes 12 year joint project

SBFIC - CARD SME Bank joint project
Mr. Aristeo A. Dequito, President and CEO of CARD SME Bank, presents the “Tree” as a symbol of SBFIC and CARD SME Bank’s fruitful partnership.

April 16, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – To celebrate the successful completion of their joint project, Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation, also known as Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC), and CARD SME Bank concludes their 12-year partnership for a joint project with a closing ceremony via Zoom on March 25, 2021.

The ceremony was attended by CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, CARD MRI Managing Director Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, CARD SME Bank President and CEO Aristeo A. Dequito, CARD SME Bank COO Cynthia Baldeo, CARD SME Bank Senior Management Adviser Ms. Mary Jane S. Perreras, CARD Bank Senior Management Adviser Dr. Dolores M. Torres and other CARD MRI executive and management committee members. Representatives from SBFIC were also present led by Sparkassenstiftung Managing Director Niclaus Bergmann, Sparkasse Essen Former Chairman of the Board Dr. Henning Osthues-Albrecht, Sparkasse Rotheburg Former Chairman of the Board Thum Werner and Long-term expert Elmar Benjie Panahon. Also present are German Deputy Ambassador to the Philippines Laura Oexle and other partners and guests.

In his welcoming remarks, Dequito mentioned the results of the partnership between the two institutions. “The past 12 years has been fruitful, meaningful, helpful, not only for CARD SME Bank, but for the whole CARD MRI. The know-hows and expertise of our local and foreign experts have helped the bank to improve its processes for us to be of better service to our clients,” he continued in his speech.

Improvements such as the increased productivity and efficiency of the staff when it comes to SME lending and the savings mobilization activities are some of the highlights that were mentioned. He also highlighted that the tools developed for monitoring productivity and the hands-on training and mentoring of the loan officers are key factors in the thrift bank’s improvements.

Project Overview

Developing and improving CARD SME Bank to become an established institution to cater to the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is the main goal of the partnership.

Establishing a precise business development framework for the institution is their first goal for CARD SME Bank. Through this, groups such the Business Development Group (BDG) and the Marketing Working Group (MWG), were made to function with separate objectives. These groups support, monitor, and capacitate the SME operations for the branches with strategic, technical, and operational directions.

The second goal is the development of the Human Resource Management and SME staff. Specific training programs for specific responsibilities were provided to better capacitate CARD SME’s personnel to the global standards of SME lending. Research was also conducted to gather data for a more effective training program.

Strengthening CARD SME Bank’s Risk Management is the last goal of the project and is achieved through the extensive technical support and training from SBFIC’s local and foreign experts. Members are equipped to handle the crisis management capacity of the bank for times such as the current pandemic.

Overall, the project impact has led to the enhanced access to finance for SMEs nationwide. It also brough a sustainable, market-based, and responsible SME finance in the country and made hundreds of bank professionals capable in SME finance and risk management.

Through the project, SBFIC and CARD SME Bank has implemented a cooperation project that embodies SBFIC’s core topics. The project also further enhanced and contributed to the Filipino-German cooperation.

SBFIC and CARD’s Partnership

The partnership between the two institutions started with a similar project for CARD Bank in 1997. From then, the partnership between CARD and SBFIC has been strong even after 25 years.

In his closing remarks, Bergmann looks forward to the future of both institutions and their projects for nation development. “We are just finishing a chapter right now, our long journey together is just beginning,” he stated.

For Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Founder and Chairman of CARD MRI, the partnership took CARD MRI one step further to its goal of poverty eradication. “CARD SME Bank is treading a difficult path and with SBFIC’s extensive help, we are able to generate hundreds of thousands of employments by supporting SMEs. Another important way to eradicating poverty is through employment generation.”

Currently, CARD SME Bank has served more than a million clients and has 336 offices located nationwide.