Philippines 4th In Microfinance Ranking

The Philippines has ranked fourth in an annual global survey on microfinance business environment, based on the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) report, citing the country's stable market.

According to the report, the country scored 63.3 points, up by 4.8 points, or two notches higher compared with last year's Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment report.

The Philippines ranked fourth out of 55 countries in an annual global survey, trailing behind Peru (79.8 points), Bolivia (71.8 points), and Pakistan (67.4 points).

The Microscope 2012 survey was conducted in the 12 months ending in June.

EIU explained the rankings were based on regulatory framework and practices, in which the Philippines was placed on top along with Peru; and the supporting institutional framework, wherein the country ranked 15 along with Brazil, Nicaragua, and Uruguay.

The survey also noted the "stability" of microfinance markets, if they are vulnerable to any political shocks.

"The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas continues to promote an enabling environment for microfinance, seeing it as one of its key poverty reduction efforts," the report read.

The survey has also recognized key efforts of the BSP such as increasing the ceiling for microfinance loans to P300,000 from P150,000 and the lower house's approved measure allowing foreign ownership of up to 40 percent in rural banks.

The proposed measure, however, remains pending in the Senate.

In January, the BSP approved a microfinance loan called "microfinance plus" that microenterprises and small businesses can avail of to fund their expanding operations, allowing borrowers to take out a maximum of P300,000 to fund their growing business

Microfinance, generally, has originally intended to mean financing for microenterprises or small livelihood activities but the BSP has since expanded the loan products to include microfinance housing, micro-agri loans, micro-insurance and micro-deposits.

For all loans, it starts with P150,000 up to a maximum of P300,000. Currently, there are 202 microfinance institutions operating in the Philippines.

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