Rafi’s microfinance bares expansion plans

·2 min read

THE Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) Micro-finance Inc. (Rafi) is eyeing to open branches in 10 new provinces in the country this year as it expands its financial and non-financial services amid this anxiety-ridden and pandemic-driven business environment.

These new locations are in Masbate, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Sur, Quezon, Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

In 2022, Rafi MFI will set foot in Batangas, Laguna, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Rizal, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley (Davao de Oro). In 2023, it will expand to Bulacan, Cavite, Marinduque, Romblon, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental.

This pipeline of expansions, according to Rafi MFI chief operating officer Jonar Dorado, is meant to reach out to more micro-entrepreneurs as they restart or recover their businesses badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“By end of 2023, we hope to assist 1.6 million families, facilitate 1.5 million livelihoods and hit a total loan portfolio of P8.5 billion,” said Dorado.

Even at the height of the pandemic, Rafi’S microfinance arm continued to provide financial support to ailing micro-businesses. In fact in 2020, it opened 42 branches in some parts of Luzon and Mindanao. It catered to 427,708 clients and assisted 323,663 borrowers.

“With the increasing need there is a real call for us to expand to more areas,” said Dorado.

In April this year, Rafi MFI opened 16 branches, the highest so far in the organization’s history. At present, the Aboitiz-led financial support group is operating 228 branches.

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed Rafi MFI to pursue its expansion plans on the back of the high demand from micro-businesses wanting to recover.

Dorado said it is during this time that the organization needs to double its efforts to reach more areas to capacitate more entrepreneurs not only in the financial aspect but also in the access to market, training, technology and value chain support.

Established on Dec. 10, 2009, Rafi MFI provides micro-finance services to underprivileged entrepreneurs. It was initially designed to help women-entrepreneurs to become financially stable and independent by providing them access to financial services and knowledge.

A micro-finance institution in the Philippines can extend up to P300,000 in micro loans to micro businesses, defined by the Department of Trade and Industry as those with assets of P3 million and below.

Dorado said Rafi MFI is keen on supporting any type of business across all industries.

Besides its comprehensive financial and non-financial services, Rafi MFI, according to Dorado, also makes borrowing easy and convenient. He said they don’t bill their clients with service charges and they don’t require “rigid requirements” for loan applications.

Rafi MFI’s clients include self-employed individuals, overseas Filipino workers, and entrepreneurs without sustainable income, househelp, employees and other sectors. (KOC)