The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has confirmed that the planned issuance of the country’s first COVID Action Response Bonds (“CARE Bonds”) by Bank of the Philippine Islands (“BPI” or the “Bank”) qualifies as Social Bonds under the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards in the Philippines.
In recognition of the significant contribution of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (“MSMEs”) to the Philippine economy, and as a direct response to their needs as one of the sectors hardest hit by the global pandemic, proceeds from the issuance will be used to finance or refinance eligible MSMEs under the Bank’s recently established Sustainable Funding Framework*.
The planned offering supplements BPI’s efforts to support the recovery of MSMEs. Some of these initiatives include the loan payment deferral program that allowed businesses to delay payments without interest charges, waiver of fees for online funds transfer transactions, and discussions with state-owned Philippine Guarantee Corporation to refine its loan products for qualified clients. In addition, BPI’s parent company, Ayala Corporation, launched the Ayala Enterprise Circle network. MSMEs can access exclusive Ayala Group solutions and offerings, expert mentorship, online dialogues and master classes, and business-matching and co-marketing opportunities.
The BPI CARE Bonds highlight the Bank’s commitment to achieving positive social outcomes by creating value for its business and stakeholders, including clients and the communities in which it operates.
“MSMEs account for a relatively small percentage of total bank borrowings but a considerable percentage of nationwide employment. Loans to MSMEs go a long way to keeping Filipinos working. To support MSMEs is to embrace the Bayanihan spirit,” said BPI President and CEO Cezar P. Consing.
The Bank will soon release further announcements on the planned BPI CARE Bonds.
*Check the discussion of BPI’s Sustainable Funding Framework. Sustainalytics also provided a Second Party Opinion on the Framework.
June 18, 2020
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