BanKo urges micro-entrepreneurs to go digital
BPI Direct BanKo, the microfinance arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), has advised self-employed micro-entrepreneurs (SEMEs) to continue running their businesses by capitalizing on social media amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was implemented on March 15, 62 percent of BanKo’s clients had to temporarily stop their operations.
Despite the challenges of the lockdown, BanKo Head of Microfinance Loans Rodolfo “Rod” Mabiasen Jr. urged SEMEs to find ways to bring their products closer to their customers via digital platforms.
“Our clients need to adapt to this new normal. They can offer their products in social media and also partner with delivery services or deliver the products to their customers themselves,” he said.
Noting that health and safety should still be prioritized, Mr. Mabiasen said, “Our self-employed micro-entrepreneurs should take care of themselves and stay healthy so they can continue to run their businesses actively. They’re the most important resources of their businesses.”
Among the active 96,000 BanKo SEMEs is Mayumi Mallari, a seafood vendor in Cubao’s Nepa Q Mart, who took advantage of social media to reach more customers. She started to offer her wide variety of products from crab, shrimp, squid, tilapia, catfish, seaweeds, and other seafood through Facebook. She added fruits and vegetables so customers have more options.
“Biglang nawala ang mga customers namin, 50% halos ay canteen at restaurants. Ang bayarin naman po sa pwesto at pasweldo sa mga tauhan namin ay diretso pa rin. Kailangan naming mag-isip ng paraan para patuloy na kumita,” Mallari said.
(50% of our customers’ businesses, which are canteens and restaurants, were suddenly closed. But we continue to pay for our rental fees and salaries of our employees. We need to find ways to continue to earn.)
Hoping to reach more customers, Julieta Calo opens her online palengke on Facebook.
Another BanKo client in Nepa Q Mart, Julieta Calo, also opened her online palengke on Facebook. Once orders are placed, she will then book a transport service to deliver her fresh goods to customers around Metro Manila.
“Sa panahon ngayon, malaking tulong talaga ang social media. Kahit kaunti ang customers na pumupunta sa market, nakababawi naman kami sa mga online clients namin,” Calo said.
(During this period, social media is really a huge help for us. Even though fewer customers go to the market, we are now able to somehow recover through our online clients.)
BanKo, through their BanKo Pares and BanKo Mares, continues to check their clients’ situation and teach them ways on how they can sustain their business for their families even in these trying times.
“We advise our clients to adapt and evaluate the prospects of their businesses in a changed environment. We believe in their entrepreneurial spirit and we know that they will grab new business opportunities when they see them. BanKo is here as their partner and we will respond to their needs however we can,” Mr. Mabiasen said.
Majority of BanKo branches nationwide remain open to serve clients with its vital financial services. Hoping to ease the burdens of SEMEs during the ECQ, it also offered a payment holiday for its qualified clients in accordance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Through the BanKo Mobile App, clients may also check their balance and transaction details, transfer money, and pay bills with a few taps.
Since its inception in 2017, BanKo has already served over 120,000 clients nationwide and released P12.9 billion in loan disbursements.
Visit www.banko.com.phand follow BPI Direct BanKo page on Facebook to learn more about its products and services.