SBFIC and CARD SME Bank
successfully concludes 12 year joint project
Aristeo A. Dequito, President and CEO of CARD SME Bank,
presents the “Tree” as a symbol of SBFIC and CARD SME Bank’s
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.
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
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
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.