CARD Bank, continues to serve in the new normal

The new normal calls for a different approach on the delivery of services for various organizations. CARD Bank, the largest microfinance-oriented rural bank in the Philippines, held its mid-year business review and planning on July 8-10, 2020 with the theme “Moving forward to the new normal fueled by the same mission of poverty eradication” to re-imagine and re-configure its services for its more than 3.3 Million clients nationwide.

Attended by the bank’s executive and management committee members from all over the Philippines through an online conference, workshops were organized to discuss how digitization can be integrated in the existing methodologies and processes of CARD Bank. By the end of the business review and planning, CARD Bank vows to increase its total clients served to 3.5 Million and to disburse loans amounting to PhP13.9 Billion by the end of the year.
“We are optimistic that we will continue to bring positive impact to Filipino families despite the new challenges we are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our digital efforts, we will continue to deliver our services to our clients,” CARD Bank President and CEO Marivic M. Austria said. She further explained that aside from its mobile banking application called konek2CARD, CARD Bank has partnered with Paymaya, Panalo Express, and ECPay to provide clients with alternative payment channels for payments of loans, savings and insurance premiums.

A beacon of hope
Throughout the years, microfinance institutions have provided socio-economically challenged families with access to financial services and community development programs. This is further highlighted as MFIs like CARD Bank continues to become beacons of hope for the poor during the pandemic. In accordance to the Bayanihan We Head As One Act, MFIs like CARD Bank implemented a moratorium so that clients can allot their budget for necessities during the community quarantines. To support microfinance clients in bouncing back after the drastic economic effect of COVID-19, CARD Bank disbursed loans to 221,000 clients amounting to PHP1.5 Billion from May until July 3, 2020.
Meanwhile, CARD MRI Microinsurance group never faltered in its mission of providing insurance to its clients. While the group also declared moratorium in its weekly insurance premium payment, its clients remained insured during lockdowns. Fast disbursement of insurance claims of CARD clients continues even there were lockdowns. The group was paying an average of 5 to 6 million pesos daily for insurance claims in the midst of quarantines.

Currently, 99% of all CARD Bank branches, unit offices, and branch-lite units are open and continuing its services under the requirements and protocols required by the new normal. An average of 60% of its workforce reports physically to these offices, while the remaining 40% are being retooled in preparation for a “branchless banking”. Austria explains that by the end of the year, CARD MRI is expecting that 800,000 of its total clients will be konek2CARD users. As the number of these digital clients increases,
CARD MRI will also transform its workforce into becoming more equipped in digital banking.
“We understand that the shift to digitization may be challenging, but we also consider this to be transformational for our clients. Our workforce is ready in assisting and supporting our clients in making this shift,” Austria stated.

Embracing the new normal
CARD Bank re-imagined its plans and came up with new strategies to better serve the community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The rural bank already embraced the new normal and is ready to move forward and achieve its mission of zero poverty incidence in the country.
“We admit that there are setbacks and barriers as we move forward our digitization journey, like meeting our clients face-to-face. But the trademark of CARD MRI to give relevant and tailored-fit services will always remain as we re-configure our plans and strategies to adapt to the new normal,”
said Austria.
“We see this crisis not as a problem, but an opportunity to reach more Filipinos in the country. We will continue to keep our eyes fixed on our main goal – a poverty-free Philippines. We embrace the changes brought by our current challenges on our health and economy while continuing to transform lives as we have always done in the past three decades,” shared CARD Bank Chairman Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip.