The Credit Information Corporation (CIC), together with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other government and private institutions, lent its support to the recently concluded “Kasama Ka program” Community Builders launch held at the BSP Assembly Hall last September 6, 2017. The Kasama Ka program is a digital referral system where members are rewarded for successful referrals that lead to the use of the many digital financial services offered by Lendr.com.ph which include loans, insurance, investment, savings and lay-away products. FINTQ, the financial technology arm of the PLDT Group’s Voyager Innovations, is the company behind the creation of the Lendr platform and the Kasama Ka program .
Essentially an enablement program, the Kasama Ka program allows individuals to refer potential borrowers to the Lendr, a platform designed to empower the borrower by offering one loan application to be distributed to multiple potential lenders, increasing the chances of the borrower of getting a better deal.
In effect, the Kasama Ka program member helps less informed borrowers avoid the pitfalls of borrowing from informal borrowers. In turn, the Kasama Ka program gives value to those with a higher level of financial awareness and literacy a financial reward for the successful referral. Speaking during the event was Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. who lauded the private sector’s efforts to support the BSP’s plans for financial inclusion. He also welcomed the use of technology in the distribution of financial services, as well as the availability of new and good financial products that not only met the needs of Filipinos but also took care of their welfare. The Kasama Ka program is seen to support the implementation of the BSP’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NFSI) which was launched in 2015. The Kasama Ka program also aims to be a significant player in increasing digital transactions in the country by twenty percent come 2020, one of the key goals of the National Retail Payments System.
For her part, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairperson Teresita J. Herbosa spoke of the Kasama Ka program as something that would truly help everyone in the financial industry and also an instrument where everybody wins.
Chairperson Herbosa said the advent of the Kasama Ka program signalled the empowerment of entrepreneurs, as well as the micro, small and medium enterprises. She added that this signalled the birth of expeditious processes and procedures that would help lenders bring down the cost of lending and lead to the creation of a democratized system whereby borrowers had a say in the terms and conditions extended to them. This, according to her, is something that is both practical and life-changing.
After the public portion of the event, CIC President and CEO Jaime Garchitorena participated in a press conference to answer questions from the media. Topics covered many aspects of lending and borrowing, but a significant interest revolved around the concerns of those with previous outstanding debt. Riding on the day’s theme of technology-assisted lending and borrowing for inclusive growth, President and CEO Garchitorena explained that while the Credit Information System would retain records of unpaid debts until they were settled, he assured them that the lending environment was changing, so much so that the lenders, who might typically hold a negative event against a borrower forever, were more open to reconsidering renegotiating abandoned debt should they step forward and begin discussions on how to resolve their obligations. The CIC President and CEO also assured the media that negative events in their credit reports, made available through the CIC and its respective credit bureaus, would be removed from the records within three years of being settled with the lender. With the CIC data being no more than thirty days old and lenders being required by law to submit accurate and up-to-date data, this process, he added, was fair to both the borrower and the future lender. He emphasized that the accurate recording of repayment and the maximum three-year retention period of the settled obligation was enough of a curative period to assure future lenders that the borrower’s character exhibited good credit behavior. This, in the end, would assure the borrower that lenders could recognize his diligence and positive creditworthiness.
The CIC, a government-owned and –controlled corporation (GOCC) that was created in 2008 to build the Philippines’ credit information system is one of the major champions of financial inclusion. The CIC has also been in continuous dialogue with its various stakeholders in order to educate them about the benefits of having a credit information system.