The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp. (IFC) will extend a P750-million loan to a group of local microfinance institutions that will focus on supporting women entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
In a statement, IFC said the financing would be issued to two lenders belonging to Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions Group (CARD MRI), namely CARD Bank Inc. and CARD SME Bank Inc.
IFC’s investment in CARD MRI, which has a network of some 120 bank branches and four million customers, is seen to benefit 60,000 firms, including 44,000 women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative in the form of performance-based incentives will help the banks reach predefined targets for lending to women-owned/led MSMEs,” IFC said.
“The funding will provide critical working capital to MSMEs, which have been disadvantaged by the pandemic due to lack of funding buffers and capacity to restart operations during quarantine periods. More than half of [MSMEs] are led by women, and the largest share of companies operate in wholesale and retail, which have been impacted by COVID-19,” it added.
“The success of women-owned businesses in the Philippines is critical to the success of the economy. Our investment will help provide needed working capital at a crucial time for MSMEs, helping them sustain operations and save jobs so they are on a better footing for a successful postcrisis recovery,” said Rosy Khanna, IFC regional industry director for financial institutions in Asia-Pacific.
“Through this partnership with the IFC, we can reach more women-owned and -led MSMEs and help them continue their journey toward a better future,” CARD MRI founder and chair Jaime Aristotle Alip said. —BEN O. DE VERA INQ
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