International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is considering a $10 million investment in Card Bank, one of the largest microfinance institutions in the Philippines, according to a disclosure.
The funding will be in a form of a one-year, renewable senior loan to support Card Bank’s working capital lending program to its micro, small, and medium clients impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Card Bank, established in September 1997, has about three million clients, 90 per cent of which are women. Headquartered in San Pablo, Laguna, Philippines, it has a network of 96 branches and 821 offices throughout the Philippines as of June 2020.
IFC said its Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is also expected to support Card Bank in the form of a performance-based incentive of up to 0.2 per cent of the $10-million total to incentivise on-lending to women and women-owned or led enterprises.
We-Fi is a multi-donor initiative to address barriers to financial access and provide related services that address public and private-sector constraints to women entrepreneurs and women-led SMEs across the developing world, thereby promoting jobs and boosting economic growth.
“By supporting Card Bank clients’ capacity to sustain operations during this acute shock, IFC best positions the private sector to support the economic recovery process, shortening the time it will take for the most vulnerable to return to their traditional income-earning opportunities,” IFC said.
Card Bank is 31 per cent owned by CARD Inc, 6.0 per cent by CARD Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the Cooperative of all CARD MRI staff, and around 64 per cent owned by CARD Mutual Benefit Association, the life and credit life micro-insurance provider of CARD MRI Group.
The funding comes as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said the MSME sector is key to COVID-19 inclusive recovery for the Philippines
MSMEs comprise 99.5 per cent of business establishments in the Philippines and are employing approximately 63 per cent of the country’s workforce, according to UNDP.