Welcome Remarks delivered during the Eagle Achievement Awarding Ceremonies (26 April 2005)

Eagle Achievement Awarding Ceremonies
Grand Ballroom, Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City
April 26, 2005, 7:00 PM

Deputy BSP Governor Armando Tetangco, Jr.; BSP Director Atty. Wilfredo Domo-ong; Ms. Janet Lopoz, Executive Director for MEDCo, USAID Mission Director Mr. Michael Yates, other international guests and visitors, fellow rural bankers, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!

We are gathered here tonight to witness a milestone in the Philippine history of microfinance – the awarding of EAGLE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS to qualified participating rural banks. I cannot ignore the happy smiles that are floating in this room because I share the same emotions. This awarding ceremony aptly underscores a successful year behind us and a challenging and exciting year before us.

The RBAP-MABS program is a technical assistance effort established to help build the capability of rural banks to profitably service the microfinance sector. The MABS Approach to Microfinance is a systematic process to unleash the potential of the rural banking sector in servicing microentrepreneurs in the countryside.

It is now apparent that the RB industry has become a sustainable and dependable provider of microfinance credit, savings, remittances, and other financial services in the countryside. During the RBAP Annual Symposium, the rural banking industry committed to become one of the leading financial networks in providing easy access to credit, savings and other financial services to meet the needs of our clients especially the micro entrepreneurs. This commitment also supports the government’s national program to alleviate poverty through increased productivity, income generation, and employment for the enterprising poor in our society.

In 2003, EAGLE rating was launched and tested with MABS participating banks to improve performance among banks. The rating is based on 11 indicators for efficiency, asset quality, growth in outreach and portfolio, liability structure (focusing on savings mobilization), and earnings. Last year, there were seven (7) rural banks who received the EAGLE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS: Rural Bank of Cantilan, Kapatagan Valley Rural Bank, Rural Bank of Tacurong, Rural Bank of Dulag, New RB of Victorias, Bangko Kabayan and Bangko Santiago De Libon to name them. This evening, the 2005 awardees will be announced.

RBAP believes that the EAGLE Awards and the EAGLE rating system developed by the RBAP-MABS program is an important indicator of the strength and
continuing growth of your microfinance operations. While not all banks are able to reach the EAGLE standards, we encourage you all to look at your EAGLE rating as a management tool to improve your microfinance operations next year. All of the MABS participating banks are winners in my book as you have all made the commitment to invest in your microfinance operations. You are the indispensable partners of the small but vital economic players in the country – the microenterprise sector. You are the lifeblood for economic activities in your respective regions. And with your continuing commitment, we hope to gain greater accomplishments in the years to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, I won’t hold you captive with a long message tonight for I share the same eagerness to know who the Awardees are and congratulate them for a job well done. So, let me take this opportunity to welcome you all to this significant occasion.

Welcome and Mabuhay tayong lahat!