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Pres. Radaza Message to the MABS Participating Banks

Dear FELLOW RURAL BANKERS,

As we have witnessed in the past 10 years, the Micro-enterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program hosted by the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) has been a solid achievement that has propelled the delivery of our microfinance product to our rural constituencies. Its success in the rural banking system has drawn the interest of many sectors both in the Philippines and abroad. It has been a platform for innovative technology-based banking products that is both cost-efficient and user-friendly as it also serves as a latch for a network of partnerships it has built that has largely benefited our sector.

While its term ended on September 30, 2007, an exit process that may extend its operation until end-February 2008 is in place to ensure a proper and seamless closure to this laudable program. In a recent Management Meeting held in Davao City attended by officials of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Chemonics, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCO) with Secretary Jesus Dureza as Presiding Officer, MABS received a highly favorable assessment with intentions made known for a possible implementation of a sequel program to sustain the benefit and goodwill that MABS has generated. This positive outcome has been made even more pronounced with the knowledge of the legal constraints spawned by a leadership issue that has beset RBAP since 2006 that unduly hobbled the presidency of Atty. Francis Ganzon and continue to stalk my current presidency. This handicap notwithstanding, we have remained forthright and transparent in handling the implementation of MABS.

We look forward with eager enthusiasm to other programs that, like MABS, our sector may be fortunate to host and gain from for the benefit of our member-banks. It is in this context that we are eliciting the support and cooperation of all of us to rise above the unfortunate distraction wrought by the noise of a few of our membership. We reiterate our call for the early resolution of this leadership issue as we, the Board voted by the majority of our members, are willing to submit ourselves anew to an election that will put an end to this sordid leadership row. We have made known this intention to officials of the BSP who viewed it with favor. The courts too remain an option to resolve this impasse and we are similarly amenable to use this venue.

We should be gaining from the tremendous prospects that the rural banking sector is poised to gain from the prevailing liberal regulatory environment and the opportunities brought by global trends like profiting from the OFW remittances. Our focus should be building our business and not demolishing what we built for over fifty years of banking experience.

Safeguarding your interests as member-banks shall always be our guidance and goal.

Very truly yours,

(SGD)
Paz C. Radaza
President