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Expanding Access to Financial Services to Invest in Small Businesses in the Philippines

The first Microenterprise Access to Banking Services project reduced poverty in the southern region of Mindanao, Philippines, by successfully convincing banks to make profitable loans and other financial services available to microenterprises.    

Through the Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) project, Chemonics and USAID were able to create lending opportunities to poor Filipinos who previously had difficulty acquiring capital and low-interest loans to start small businesses.

Over 10 years, more than 450,000 microentrepreneurs like these two young women in the Philippines benefited from MABS.

Through technical assistance to banks and the introduction of cutting-edge mobile phone banking technologies, the project achieved remarkable results without investing a single dollar of loan funds or loan guarantees to participating banks. Initially, the project provided participating banks with technical assistance in microfinance training, market analysis, and loan and savings product development.

Loans ranged from $50 to $300 and helped to develop small enterprises and generate new jobs. In partnership with Globe Telecom, MABS helped provide innovative banking services through mobile phones and SMS text messaging technology to reach clients in remote areas, reduce transaction costs, and improve security.

The project ensured sustainability by developing a local network of highly skilled consultants and trainers to serve the growing market of private banks offering microfinance services. By promoting a culture of saving among microentreprenuers, MABS succeeded in building wealth in this part of the Philippines. The project also encouraged school children to open savings accounts so the future generation can follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of their parents.

Project Results
  • 457,144 new borrowers receiving $410 million in loans
  • 1,100 jobs created at banks for microfinance operations
  • 85 percent of microfinance clients are women
  • 50-1 return on investment for project funds
 
Project duration: 1997-2007

 

    impact

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