2nd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards Recognize KMBI and Program Member

KMBI has once again been selected as one of the five awardees of the Digital Champions – MFI Category of the 2nd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA). This makes KMBI a DFIA awardee for the second time in a row.

Significantly, KMBI's member client, Marissa Palcat of Tagum Branch, has also been selected as an awardee under the Digital Champions – Microentrepreneur Category of the 2nd DFIA.

A Program Member of KMBI for more than six years now, Marissa tells of a story not only of surviving, but of evolving with the times. She and her husband started their first business of Nintendo video gaming shop in 2001, which soon expanded into rentals of offline computers. With the rise of the internet in the Philippines, they upgraded their offline computer rentals into an internet shop.

Marissa in her computer shop

Facing the challenge of poor internet connectivity in their area, Marissa and her husband put up their own tower with another communication network with the help of capitalization she acquired from KMBI.

Marissa posing with her network tower in the background

She then established several WiFi vending machines, a utility which proved all the more necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic where digital transactions, communications and online schooling system have rapidly advanced. Her business not only withstood, but also thrived during the health crisis.

With the increased demand for internet connectivity and contactless transactions, Marissa and her husband added digital payment, bank transactions, cash-in and cash-out and loading services to their business. Apart from these ventures, Marissa also opened a water refilling station as well as printing and photocopy services.

Marissa poses for picture with her staff in A.J Water Refilling Station that offers a unique refilling vendo machine

Marissa shares this helpful advice to other aspiring women entrepreneurs: “Observe what’s happening in your community, identify the need, find a solution to answer that need, and make it your business. There is no easy way to success; when your business stumbles and encounters challenges, do not stop. Instead, innovate. Always think of and adopt new strategies to improve your business, and lastly, never forget to pray for blessings and guidance from God.”

As an awardee institution, KMBI will receive a cash prize of PhP 100,000. Marissa will also receive a cash prize amounting to PhP 100,000 and a laptop unit to aid in her businesses.

The DFIA is a financial inclusion awards program funded by Citi Foundation, in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI) and supported by the Bangko ng Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The program aims to recognize outstanding innovators in the microfinance industry in terms of digital solutions that produced meaningful results towards the achievement of financial inclusion, leading to economic empowerment of low-income individuals.

The recognition will be held on October 24, 2023 at the Assembly Hall, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Malate, Manila.

KMBI Board of Trustees Welcomes New Leaders

Three new leaders joined the roster of KMBI’s governance during the Annual General Membership (AGM) meeting last March 4, 2023 at KMBI Panay Office, Quezon City.

Mr. Gary J. Jamora, Chairman of Resources for the Blind, Inc., now serves as KMBI’s Corporate Secretary. Mr. Jamora is also a celebrated restaurateur and chef who has decades of culinary experience.

Another addition to the KMBI Board of Trustees is Mr. Sebastian Quiniones, Jr., who previously served the organization as Corporate Member. Mr. Quiniones is the Executive Director of Pilipinas Shell Foundation since January 2019. He is also currently the Chairman of the Board of the League of Corporate Foundations. He was appointed as Managing Director and General Manager of Prime Energy Resources Development BV, the company which took over the Operatorship of the Malampaya Gas to Power Project in November 2022.

The rest of the Board composition is as follows: Mr. Sergio G. Edeza, Chairman; Ms. Aneth Ng-Lim, Vice-Chairman; Mr. Eduardo C. Jimenez, President; Mr. Lemuel David A. Salmo, Corporate Treasurer; and Trustees Bishop Jose D. Dalino, Ms. Victoria Esperanza Z. Cartera, and Dr. Rodolfo P. Estigoy.

The organization also welcomes a new Corporate Member, Dr. Hemmady S. Mora. Dr. Mora is the current dean of the College of Communications at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). She is also an International Alumni for Haggai Leadership Experience and serves in the national faculty of Haggai Institute Philippines.

The AGM is conducted annually pursuant to the Corporate Code and By-laws. The meeting is held to allow leaders to discuss KMBI’s fiscal performance for the previous year, address issues and concerns, revisit the organization’s accomplishments, and elect new members and officers in the Board of Trustees.

Left: Dr. Hemmady S. Mora, Corporate Member. Middle: Mr. Sebastian Quiniones, Jr., Trustee. Right: Mr. Gary Jamora, Corporate Secretary (photo courtesy of Philstar.com)

KMBI Leaders Gather for Face-to-Face General Assembly

For the first time in two years, KMBI leaders and branch officers have gathered for a face-to-face General Assembly held at Park Inn by Radisson North EDSA, Quezon City last January 23-25, 2023.

The three-day assembly kicked off with the unveiling of Isaiah 50:7 as KMBI’s theme verse for 2023: “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”

The assembly gave participants a platform to air their concerns and provide feedback to the top leadership, which will p lay a significant role in continuously improving KMBI’s processes and systems. This solidifies the organization’s commitment to transparency and good governance.

Reinforcements on KMBI’s new and existing policies were among the highlights of the assembly, in which policymakers and process owners outlined the proper processes to be performed in the conduct of KMBI’s operations, which include but are not limited to human resources, product policies and risk management, among many others.

The assembly was also filled with insightful talks from renowned microfinance industry leaders and award-winning changemakers. Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CARD-MRI, shared ways on how to maintain social and economic relevance today and tomorrow, amidst the local and global challenges in the microfinance industry. He tackled the importance of client-centric approach in providing microfinance services to clients.

This was followed by a discussion on developing environmental awareness and active participation for a sustainable society, facilitated by Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, Scientist and Professor Emeritus and former Chancellor of UP Los Baños and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Awardee on Climate Change.

Capping off the plenary talks were insights on spiritual growth shared by Ms. Aneth Ng-Lim, KMBI Vice-Chairman & Trustee and Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship Specialist, who tackled the essence of spiritual wellness and mental health amidst the demands of work and personal life.

The assembly closed with a commitment setting headed by leaders of Credit Operations Group, Executive Management Office, Transformational Development and Training Group, and Management Services Group. This is a manifestation of the organization’s efforts to achieving its goals for the year 2023, in line with its five-year business plan dubbed, “ARISE KMBI! Journey to 40 and Beyond”, which is the KMBI’s roadmap leading to its 40th year of service to microentrepreneurs and farmers.

The General Assembly is an annual gathering of KMBI leaders to discuss and lay down the plans for the year ahead.

KMBI Bags Recognition in 1st Digital Financial Inclusion Awards

KMBI was recognized as one of the 4 awardees of Digital Champions – MFI Category during the 1st Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA), a financial inclusion initiative funded by Citi Foundation in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines.

Held virtually last December 6, 2022, the DFIA honors KMBI’s efforts in adopting and implementing digital technologies in its operations to better serve its Program Members during these changing times.

KMBI’s in-house system, the Dynamic Unified Network and Management Information System or DUNAMIS, paved a way for KMBI to accelerate the digitalization of its systems. DUNAMIS transformed the process of daily banking transactions and financial records through automation.

KMBI continued its journey towards digitalization through a partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO). This collaboration produced a digital payment and financial services platform via DigiPay, which allowed client / merchant-agents to carry out payments, remittances and e-loading services.

Milagros Francisco, KMBI Program Member, navigates through the DigiPay app to learn the processes of using the app to facilitate online transactions.

KMBI’s most recent move towards digitalization is the automated collection system in partnership with UBx to help in lowering transaction costs and streamlining the payment process for the Program Members.

A UBx representative guides a KMBI Program Member in San Jose Del Monte through the basics of using the BUx online payment platform.

This move allowed KMBI to reap the positive impact of digitalization on KMBI’s staff and operations. In an interview, Deputy Executive Director for Transformational Development and Training Group (TDTG), Ms. Hazel Christine R. Bayaca shared how KMBI’s digitalization efforts paid off in a lot of ways.

Deputy Executive Director for TDTG, Ms. Hazel Christine R. Bayaca, shares a message to KMBI Program Members during the UBx Kickoff at KMBI San Jose del Monte Branch. She highlights the convenience of being able to transact with KMBI through alternative payment channels.

“First of all, we were able to observe an increase of daily collections, around 15-20% since we started our digital financial services. We have also observed the lowering of printing costs and courier costs, which is about 2-3 milion [Pesos] in a year. Our staff felt ease and experienced lesser time doing their reports and processing records,” Ms. Bayaca said.

The digital financial services has also been helping KMBI’s clients in a lot of aspects. “First, this has helped decrease their transaction costs. Secondly, it has given them convenience and security because they don’t have to go physically to the banks. And thirdly, [it provided] safety from the possibility of getting infected by the virus along the way and in handling physical money,” she added.

Apart from the financial advantages as a result of digitalization, KMBI’s digital financial inclusion efforts have also empowered clients to learn digital skills which they in turn will use to empower their families and communities.

As an awardee, KMBI will receive a cash prize which will be used to further strengthen the organization’s digital financial services.

The DFIA is a program that aims to strengthen financial inclusion in the Philippines through digitalization of the microfinance sector. This event is supported by Citi Group and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.