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Financial institutions urged to support MSMEs

The number of people working in micro, small and medium enterprises is a primary factor why financial institutions should continue to tap the sector, a bank executive said.

In a virtual briefing Monday, Bank of the Philippine Island president and chief executive officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said while the MSME sector’s value added on the country’s total output remains small compared to bigger businesses, it “generates a lot of employment in the country and the trickle-down effect also is quite significant.”

Prior to the pandemic, the government and the banks, among other institutions, increased their programs to boost opportunities for MSMEs, which employ around 99 percent of workers in the country.

This increased the sectors’ access to financing although some players continue to face challenges for this, especially after the pandemic hit.

Limcaoco said since MSMEs are the economy’s backbone thus, “the more we support them, the better for the country.”

“When we help micro-entrepreneurs by giving them access to affordable loan products to fund their operations, we give them an opportunity to grow and to expand their business, which obviously redounds to our country’s economic progress,” he said.

Limcaoco said since the inception of BPI BanKo, the Ayala-led bank’s microfinance arm extended about P22 billion worth of loans to over 181,000 MSMEs in 2017.

He said they plan to further digitalize their processes to reach more MSMEs and help them with their financing needs.

“Hopefully, this will allow us to reach even lower income segments and increase the share of other economic activities in our lending portfolio,” he added.*PNA

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