More than P46 billion worth of loans have been rediscounted by all classes of banks in the first nine months of the year but less than one percent of it, or some P46 million, pertained to rediscounts involving micro lenders.
This is partly because the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has put up rules effectively restricting thousands of micro lenders, mainly deposit-taking cooperative banks, access to the rediscounting window.
This was learned from Deputy Executive Director Joselito Almario of the National Credit Council under whose nurturing the thousands of micro lenders in the countryside have learned to upgrade not just their lending skills but strengthened their financial capabilities as well.
But even then, only a small fraction of the universe of micro lenders is able to rediscount their loans with the BSP.
According to Almario, more or less 40 cooperative banks of the thousands in operation at present have access to the central bank’s rediscounting window.
“Only the strong banks can avail of the BSP’s rediscounting window,” Almario said in a telephone interview.
By strong he meant banks with superior CAMELS rating that pertain to such benchmarks as capital adequacy ratio, asset quality, management quality, earning ability, liquidity and sensitivity to market risks.
CAMELS benchmarks may have been set so high up there the micro lenders have a hard time qualifying. In any case, microfinance loans rediscounted at the BSP accounted for only P46.27 million in the nine months that the rediscounting window had been made available to banks across the country, BSP data show.
Housing loans rediscounted for the period equaled 1.9 percent of total or P897.26 million while that for working capital equaled 3.2 percent or P1.48 billion.
The bulk or 54.4 percent of rediscounted loans worth P25.22 billion pertained to commercial loans obtained from the BSP during the period.
In fairness to the BSP, the P46.27 million rediscounts to micro lenders excluded the special P5 billion rediscount budget specifically designed for borrowers devastated by tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng late last year. (PNA)