BSP-Aligned Innovation Initiative: Oxfam, LenddoEFL partner to help disaster-hit communities in PH

BSP-Aligned Innovation Initiative: Oxfam, LenddoEFL partner to help  disaster-hit communities in PH
LenddoEFL CEO Paolo Montessori (left) and Oxfam in the Philippines Country Director Maria Rosario Felizco (right) during a meeting with BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier (center) on June 6, 2019. (Photo by April Abello-Bulanadi/Oxfam)

BSP-Aligned Innovation Initiative:
Oxfam, LenddoEFL partner to help
disaster-hit communities in PH

A financial technology innovation will help more people from remote communities affected by disasters get faster and more convenient access to financial services.

The innovation is the result of a partnership between international development organization Oxfam, together with a licensed financial institution, and software company LenddoEFL, which aims to give financial inclusion support “to the poor, underserved, and unbanked” in line with the initiatives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Oxfam in the Philippines Country Director Maria Rosario Felizco expressed optimism that this partnership would not only provide more efficient registration disaster-affected populations and ensure financial inclusion, but also help boost local economies by increasing access to financial services such as micro-credit and weather-based insurance.

“We have seen how the innovative use of digital cash technologies has transformed the lives of Filipinos, particularly women from marginalized communities. In contributing to their economic empowerment, we also amplify efforts in fighting poverty and increasing resilience in the face of disasters and conflicts,” Felizco said.

At least 1,000 farmers from Cagayan province who were affected by Typhoon Ompong in 2018 have benefited from the electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) product, which is an alternative digital verification process to register unbanked and unserved people.

This means the registered farmers may now be able to access a wide-range of financial services, including savings accounts and loans from Philippine financial institutions, in line with regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Currently, Know Your Customer regulations in the Philippine have always required face-to face or real-time online interviews to register new-to-card or new-to bank current account/savings account customers.

With this innovation, farmers will be verified faster and more conveniently from their mobile phone.

“With our end-to-end fully digital verification solution, we are able to prevent fraud, ensure Oxfam aligns with Bangko Sentral requirements and quickly and efficiently onboard beneficiaries at scale” said Paolo Montessori, CEO of LenddoEFL.

He added, “We are proud to partner with Oxfam and help Filipino communities that need urgent financial support. Providing a solution to help disaster-stricken Filipino communities get access to financial services at a lower cost, faster and more conveniently is a step further to LenddoEFL’s mission of financial inclusion.”

Data from BSP’s latest Financial Inclusion Survey show that 52.8 million, or 77.4 percent of adult Filipinos, remain unbanked. Of these, 60 percent cited not having enough money as a reason, while 18-percent of the respondents said they do not have the documents required to open an account.

The innovation will also aim to support communities frequented by typhoons in Eastern Samar, and those displaced by the armed conflict in Maguindanao, where Oxfam and its local partners currently implement humanitarian responses.

The initiative builds on the lessons learned from previous humanitarian cash transfer programs during Super Typhoon Yolanda and the Marawi crisis, which pioneered affordable digital financial services for poor communities in the Philippines.

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