ADB Provides Loan to Expand Microfinance Access for Women in the Philippines

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has disbursed a US$4 million loan to the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), to expand lending to low-income borrowers, especially women, in the Philippines.

The loan will increase the funding capacity of CARD, to provide working capital for micro-borrowers, many of whom are women and farmers. In the Philippines, 63% of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are owned by women.

“Lockdowns during the pandemic significantly reduced the income of women-owned micro-borrowers, forcing them to take more expensive loans from informal channels,” said ADB Private Sector Financial Institutions Division Director Christine Engstrom.

“Nonbank microfinancing is a viable formal lending alternative for underserved groups like women. Boosting CARD’s capacity will improve livelihoods of low-income earners and help them withstand future crises by broadening their access to affordable finance.”

“CARD is committed to helping socially and economically challenged individuals and families with a vision to eradicate extreme poverty across the country. This loan facility will create opportunities to access much-needed financial products,” said CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito.

“Our collaboration with ADB, other institutions, and individuals that share the same mission with CARD furthers financial inclusivity and contributes to our shared goal of sustainable livelihood and the realization of zero poverty in the Philippines. Together we and our partners strive towards our common goal of empowering Filipino families”

CARD is a microfinance non-government organization with a presence in most Philippine provinces. As of December 2020, CARD had about 1.3 million micro-borrowers, 85% of them women, and a Php8.8 billion loan portfolio (around US$160 million).

Owners of small community stores, food vendors, resellers of clothing apparel, and backyard farmers and growers often borrow from CARD, which provides low interest rates and does not charge a service fee. To reach rural areas, the company has developed systems to digitalize loan applications and enable remote financial transactions through digital wallet providers.

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