ONB’s microfinance program to start in Mindanao, top exec

THE DAVAO based One Network Bank (ONB), a subsidiary of BDO Unibank Inc., will first implement its microfinance program in Mindanao once its agreement with Texas Pacific Group (TPG) is approved by the Central Bank.

Luis Reyes, senior vice president for investor relations and corporate planning of BDO Unibank Inc., said the program is in partnership with TPG, which has expertise in handling and enforcing microfinance.

“We will then start in Mindanao,” Reyes said.

In June, the BDO Unibank Inc. sold 40% stake in ONB to TPG Growth, the investment arm of TPG with the sale being assess by BSP which is expected to approve it by the end of the year.

The rural bank was originally a consolidation in 2004 of Rural Bank of Panabo Inc., Network Rural Bank Inc. and Provident Rural Bank of Cotabato Inc. In August 2014 BDO Unibank Inc. bought about 90% of the bank.

In ONB’s website, “the backbone of the bank’s growth strategy is its network of 107—mostly located in countryside Mindanao—complemented by its more than 180 onsite and offsite ATMs. The bank intends to beef up its branch network to capture more of its target market segments.”

The bank focuses on unserved and underserved areas.

With TPG, BDO president Nestor Tan said earlier in a national paper that they are looking forward to work with the company “to accelerate ONB’s expansion and to develop new products to cover the underserved market segments.”

This partnership, Tan said, will entail ONB to “benefit from TPG’s global experience in financial services, especially in developing markets.” By Kristianne M. Fusilero

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