CARD Bank Microentrepreneur Client hailed as Citi Regional Awardee 2019

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Foundation, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) awarded eight outstanding microentrepreneurs in the country for the 2019 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards on November 26, 2019.

Among the 141 nominees from 31 different institutions across the country who competed for the award, Lucrecia Neri, a microentrepreneur client of CARD Bank from Midsayap, North Cotabato was recognized as Citi Regional Awardee for Mindanao held at BSP Headquarters, Malate, Manila.

Lucrecia is the owner of Manna’s Alternative Herbal Products and Atimana Organic Hub. She started with a production of turmeric tea, mangosteen tea, and rice coffee. “It was in 1999 when I was diagnosed with cancer, and then I learned about the benefits we could get from the turmeric,” said Lucrecia Neri.

Lucrecia added that after her medical operation, she is the first one who tried her product. “After doing further research on turmeric, I tried it and believed that through this, it bested my cancer.”

She eventually ventured out in capsuling these as health supplements. She added that she started with just a mortar and pestle and some turmeric.

“It’s very difficult in the beginning since many find it very old and traditional, but I believe in my product since I am the living testimony that it is effective in curing cancer,” she explained.

Now, her products are sold outside Cotabato, and reaching the mainstream market in Luzon and Visayas.

“CARD Bank plays a very important role in the success I am experiencing today. The institution helped me more than the financial access they provided for me,” she added.

She also encouraged her employees to be CARD Bank clients where they can develop good financial habits through the weekly training sessions conducted by the institution.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity CARD Bank has given me. I will continue my advocacy in promoting organic farming and help the underprivileged in our community,” she concluded.

Citi Microentrepreneurs Awards 

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) is a six months nationwide search for the outstanding microentrepreneurs across the country to celebrate and honor their achievements in overcoming their struggles as they bring their business in the mainstream market. Their efforts helped them improve their quality of lives with their families and contributing to the growth of their local economy by generating income activities to their community.

“Its our way of recognizing our microentrepreneurs who have beaten the odds and lifted themselves and others out of poverty, and it would not be possible without the unwavering strong support from microfinance institutions as partners in providing financial inclusion and enterprise development for all,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

He stated that the partnership between MCPI and Citi Philippines remains one of BSP’s foundation in stakeholder engagement for financial inclusion. “This activity highlights how these microentrepreneurs serve as models of sharing their stories on winning struggles with their hard work and determination to succeed to their fellow microentrepreneurs.”

CARD Bank vows support for microentreprenurs

According to CARD Bank President and CEO Marivic Austria, the award is a manifestation of how microfinance helped in eradicating poverty in the country.

“We are happy that another client from us is recognized again as an outstanding microentreprenuer, we believe that through our financial and non-financial services, we are steps closer towards our mission in eradicating poverty in the Philippines,” said Marivic Austria, President and CEO.

She also added that the institution will continue its goal to strengthen and support the microentrepreneurs nationwide.

“We are very proud to be part of every client’s success in pursuing their dreams to reach the success, and this is our commitment on reaching our mission to end poverty in the country,” she concluded.

2019 Citi Regional Awardee for Mindanao Lucrecia Neri (center) receives her award from Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed (left) with her husband Virgilio (right).