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DTI-LANDBANK partnership facilitates ‘ease of doing business’

(Seated) DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (center), National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon (right) and LANDBANK Executive Vice President Liduvino S Geron (left) led the MOA signing, witnessed by (standing, L – R) LANDBANK Senior Vice President Ramon Monteloyola, DTI Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco, and BTr Deputy Treasurer Sharon Almanza.   In their continuing efforts to improve and speed-up the delivery of government services, Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) allowing the online payment of business name registration and renewal fees through LANDBANK’s e-Payment facility, Link.Biz Portal. Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, BTr National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon, and LANDBANK Executive Vice President Liduvino S. Geron, representing LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo, led the signing ceremony held on September 27, 2019 at the Ayuntamiento Building in Intramuros, Manila. “This is aligned with the mandate of the President, who has always mentioned that the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ should be a primary concern. This is to address long queues and delays in the processing of government services to make business transactions easier for the public,” said Secretary Lopez. Under the agreement, LANDBANK cardholders may now pay the corresponding fees online through the Link.Biz Portal and avoid long queues. The online payment facility, along with the DTI’s Business Name Registration System Next Generation or BNRS Next Gen (an online platform where the public could register and renew their business names), aims to make the process more convenient and efficient. The Link.Biz Portal is an e-Payment facility where LBP cardholders can pay for products and services of both government and private institutions via the internet. Now with more than 600 merchants on board, secure transactions can be made by the public 24/7, anytime, anywhere, even at the comfort of their own homes. “The opening of other payment channels such as the Link.Biz Portal is part of LANDBANK’s dedication in serving more Filipinos, and providing them with more options which enable convenient transactions,” said LANDBANK Executive Vice President Geron. The initiative is part of the government’s efforts in responding to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s mandate of providing the public simpler and more convenient transactions with the government, under the the Republic Act No. 11032 also known as the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018”. “Electronic payment systems can allow Filipinos to transact with the government in a convenient and cost-effective manner,” said National Treasurer De Leon.

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LANDBANK makes loans more accessible, affordable for farmers, fishers

The Land Bank of the Philippines is taking steps to make its direct lending programs more accessible and affordable for small farmers and fishers (SFFs), in line with its aggressive drive to intensify support to the sector. “We understand that applying for loans can be intimidating, especially for small farmers and fishers, so we have started making basic improvements in our processes to make it easier for them to avail of loans,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Among the basic enhancements which the Bank made is the simplification of the loan application form, which has been condensed into one document – from what used to be three separate documents (i.e. Application Form, Sworn Statement/Attestation, and Data Privacy Consent). Completing the form is also now more straightforward with mostly tick boxes, to make it easier for farmers and fishers. The promissory note which used to be a 14-page document has also been simplified and shortened to one page. Basic documentary requirements have likewise been trimmed down. SFF borrowers of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) Lending Program, for instance, will only need to submit a loan application form, a simple farm plan, and barangay clearance. More affordable The Bank also made its programs more affordable by standardizing the interest rates at 5% per annum for most direct lending programs for SFFs. These include the Accessible Funds for Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBs) Program, which provides loans to finance production of rice, corn, and high-value crops, as well as the acquisition of small farm implements. Retail lending programs for SFFs that the Bank administers for the Department of Agriculture also now have interest rates fixed at 2% p.a. These include the ACEF Lending Program and the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SCP-SIDA) funded by the Sugar Regulatory Administration. Also available at an interest rate of 2% p.a. is the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF). Under the Program, LANDBANK will lend up to P500 million annually for the next six years to rice farmers registered in the Registry System on Basic Sectors in Agriculture or RSBSA, and to DA-accredited cooperatives. For on-lending by cooperatives under ERCA-RCEF, interest rate is at 0% p.a., as long as effective pass-on rate to end borrowers is not higher than 6% p.a. Faster Processing of loan applications is also quicker – with average turn-around time of just one day as against the maximum 10-days commitment to the Governance Commission for GOCCs. This is provided that the borrower submitted complete documents and credit/background investigation is favourable. “This is just the beginning as we are actively looking for ways to further improve the loan application process for our farmer and fisher borrowers. Through these efforts, we hope to encourage them to go to LANDBANK instead of borrowing from informal lenders who charge significantly higher rates,” Borromeo added.

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LANDBANK continues fourth year of Financial Inclusion Forum in Cebu

Financial Inclusion Forum in Aloguinsan, Cebu. (left photo, from L-R) Mayor Cesare Ignatius G. Moreno and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo with farmer-availers of the ACEF loan program, namely:  Apdebafi Paraiso, Jocelyn Lapiña, and Juanito and Vicente Secretaria. They are joined by LANDBANK Executive Vice President for Branch Banking Sector Joselito P. Gutierrez. (top right photo) LANDBANK’s Agent Banking Partner in Aloguinsan is LAMAC Multi-Purpose Cooperative, represented by General Manager Ma. Elena Limocon. The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) continued the fourth year of its Financial Inclusion (FI) Forum in Aloguinsan, Cebu, in an event which gathered more than 500 attendees, majority of whom are farmers. Aloguinsan is a 4th class municipality in the western part of the province, where agriculture and fishing are major sources of livelihood.   Prior to Aloguinsan, the previous three legs of this year’s series of FI Forums were held in the following underserved municipalities: Sto. Niño, Cagayan; Rizal, Palawan; and Libacao, Aklan. FI Forums will also be conducted in Mayantoc, Tarlac; Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; Claveria, Misamis Oriental, and Polillo Islands, Quezon.   The half-day forum dubbed “Ipon at Kabuhayan para sa ating Kababayan” featured modules on financial literacy and LANDBANK’s products and services, particularly its lending programs for farmers. Among the programs presented during the forum were the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) and Accessible Funds For Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBs). Farmers who availed the ACEF loan were recognized during the event, namely Apdebafi Paraiso, Jocelyn Lapiña, and Juanito and Vicente Secretaria. “This is part of LANDBANK’s efforts in bringing our products and services closer to the countryside. With this campaign, we hope to uplift the lives of our fellow Filipinos, especially farmers and fishers, by helping them improve their income through the proper management of finances,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Launched in 2016, the FI Forum is an initiative of the Bank in line with its financial inclusion thrust of serving unbanked communities across the country. Since its launch, LANDBANK has helped bring over 10,000 underserved Filipinos under the umbrella of formal financial services from 28 municipalities. Also present in the event with LANDBANK President Borromeo were Aloguinsan Mayor Cesare E. Moreno, LANDBANK Executive Vice President for Branch Banking Sector Joselito P. Gutierrez, and other Bank officials. LAMAC Multi-Purpose Cooperative During the event, LANDBANK also formally launched its first Agent Banking partner in Aloguinsan under its Agent Banking Program. LANDBANK’s Agent Banking Program is targeted to further expand its reach in remote and unbanked areas without the Bank’s presence, through partnerships with client cooperatives, associations, SMEs, and private entities. Through the Program, LAMAC MPC can serve the public’s basic banking transactions such as Point-of-Sale (POS) Cash-Out, prepaid card sale, card reload/card refund/withdrawal, balance inquiry, and bills payment.

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LANDBANK wins Karlsruhe Award for Payatas and Rodriguez Landfills Waste-to-Energy Projects

LANDBANK Directors Nancy Irlanda Tanjuatco (2nd from left) and Jesus V. Hinlo Jr. (4th from left), together with Philippine Ambassador to Germany Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega (center) receive the “Karlsruhe Outstanding Sustainable Finance Project Award” from Karlsruhe City Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup (leftmost) and European Organisation for Sustainable Development CEO/event co-organizer Arshad Rab (rightmost).   The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) was recently conferred with the “Karlsruhe Outstanding Sustainable Finance Project Award” during the Global Sustainable Finance Conference 2019 in Karlsruhe City, Germany in July 2019, in recognition of its successful implementation of the Carbon Finance Support Facility (CFSF) which involves the installation of landfill gas collection and combustion systems for electricity generation in two of the country’s largest landfills. The waste-to-energy projects successfully implemented under the CFSF involve the methane gas power plant projects at the Quezon City and Rizal Province sanitary landfills, operated by Pangea Green Energy Philippines, Inc. (PGEP) and Montalban Methane Power Corporation (MMPC), respectively. These projects have power generation capacities of 2.5 MW and 8.19 MW, respectively, and are expected to contribute reduction of about 1M tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, or equivalent to 430,000 barrels of crude oil consumption, for the years 2014-2020. “The Carbon Finance Support Facility is part of LANDBANK’s response to the global call for immediate and appropriate action to mitigate climate change. We look forward to supporting more waste-to-energy projects, as we hope to encourage more local enterprises to lead socially-responsible and environmentally-conscious operations,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Both projects were registered by LANDBANK as eligible projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one ton of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol. The CDM is a trailblazer, being the first global environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, and with the CERs as a standardized emissions offset instrument.

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LANDBANK distributes P12.9M cash grants to UCT beneficiaries in Misamis Oriental

LANDBANK employees distributes cash grants to UCT beneficiaries in Misamis Oriental. The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) recently released cash pay-outs under the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the amount of P12.9 million to 5,386 beneficiaries in separate events in the Province of Misamis Oriental. The first cash pay-out was held last August 10, 2019 in the Municipality of Initao, Misamis Oriental for 2,006 “Social Pension” and 1,328 “Listahanan” UCT beneficiaries from 11 barangays, namely, Aluna, Andales, Calacapan, Gimangpang, Kanitoan, Pagahan, Poblacion, San Pedro, Sinalac, Tawantawan, and Tubigan. This was followed by two more cash pay-out events held on August 13 to 14, and August 20 for 1,436 “Social Pension” and 616 “Listahanan” UCT beneficiaries from 10 barangays in the Municipality of Naawan, Misamis Oriental composed of Barangays Don Pedro, Linangkayan,           Lubilan, Mapulog, Maputi, Mat-i, Patag, Poblacion, Tagbalogo, and Tuboran. The beneficiaries, who each received P2,400.00 in cash, were mostly farmers and fishers, and senior citizens. The UCT Program is the tax subsidy provided under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to help the marginalized who will not directly benefit from the lowering of personal income tax but will be affected by the moderate increase in prices due to the higher oil excise tax, introduction of the sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax and the expansion of the value-added tax (VAT) base. It is considered to be the biggest tax reform mitigation program under the TRAIN Law which seeks to provide 10 million beneficiaries with cash subsidies amounting to P200 a month for 2018 and P300 a month for 2019 and 2020. As part of its support to the development programs of the national government, LANDBANK has been designated as the conduit for the pay-outs to the UCT Program beneficiaries - of which a considerable number are farmers and fishers.

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LANDBANK joins distribution of land titles during CARP’s 31st anniversary celebration

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the distribution of land titles, joined by DAR Secretary John Castriciones and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo joined President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones in distributing Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) and Emancipation Patents (EPs) to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) at the DAR Central Office in Quezon City, last August 27, 2019. The said distribution is part of the 31st anniversary celebration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, a long-term land reform program managed by DAR which aims to grant landless farmers and farm workers ownership of agricultural lands. A total of 40,242 CLOAs and 6,267 EPs, covering a combined land area of 70,249 hectares were turned over by LANDBANK to DAR, which were distributed to ARBs from Regions III (Central Luzon), IV-A (CALABARZON), and IV-B (MIMAROPA). According to Castriciones, DAR is also expediting land acquisition and land distribution in response to President Duterte’s directive to accelerate the implementation of CARP. LANDBANK continues to intensify its support to ARBs as a financial intermediary of CARP; having turned over to DAR a total of 208,895 CLOAs and EPs covering a total land area of 354,783 hectares.

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LANDBANK, DA sign agreement on P1.5-billion support for farmers

LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo (seated, 2nd from left) and Agriculture Acting Secretary William D. Dar (seated, 3rd from left) sign a MOA with LBP Lending Program Management Group Head/FVP Emellie Tamayo (seated, leftmost) and Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola (seated, rightmost), witnessed by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones (standing, 4th from left), with (standing, from left) Deputy Treasurer Atty. Erwin Sta. Ana, LBP Directors Jesus Hinlo Jr., Jaime Miralles, and Virgilio Robes Jr., Agriculture Undersecretary Atty. Francisco Villano Jr., and ACPC Deputy Executive Director Ramon Yedra (standing, rightmost). The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), signed on August 28, 2019 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that would provide financial assistance to small farmers affected by the implementation of Republic Act No. 11203 also known as the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL). Acting Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo led the signing of the agreement to implement the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program (SURE Aid) for Rice Farmers, which will provide an immediate one-time loan assistance of P15,000, payable in 8 years, to rice farmers who are tilling one hectare of land and below, and whose incomes were affected by the drop of prices of palay this year. “We are trying to appraise the very predicament of the rice farmers affected by a complex set of issues, including the Rice Tariffication Law. But because of the falling prices of palay, we thought it necessary to look at every opportunity that is available for us. There are many more measures and this is one of them. We would like to get more ideas – measures that we need to implement right away,” said Secretary Dar, who is also Chairman of ACPC, an attached agency of DA. Under the agreement, LANDBANK will implement the SURE Aid Program by releasing the loans either through direct lending to farmers or through service conduits. For its part, DA-ACPC will set aside P1.5 billion for the Program and provide the Bank with the validated list of farmers eligible for the loan assistance, as well as the list of DA-identified service conduits. “We are very excited to be part of this very important Program that will cushion the initial impact of the lowering of the farm gate prices of palay because of the new rice tariffication regime. Please be assured that LANDBANK is fully on-board to work with you in making greater things happen for our farmers and fishers,” said President Borromeo. She also thanked Secretary Dar for his “very swift and solid move,” which she said was a clear sign of many great things to come in the agriculture sector. The MOA signing was witnessed by members of the LANDBANK Board of Directors led by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Atty. Jesus Hinlo Jr., Jaime Miralles, and Virgilio Robes Jr. They were joined by Agriculture Undersecretary Atty. Francisco Villano Jr., ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola, ACPC Deputy Executive Director Ramon Yedra, Deputy Treasurer Atty. Erwin Sta. Ana, and LANDBANK Lending Program Management Group Head/FVP Emellie Tamayo.

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Farmer finds success in agri-preneurship through science, thirst for learning

“A farmer has to be a scientist. You have to do a lot of observing. You don’t just plant and plant.” – This is the philosophy that farmer-turned-agripreneur Ruben Ragas lives by. His farm in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte is proof of his careful and meticulous planning. All sections - from the fish pond and livestock shed to the various vegetable plots - are strategically laid out for specific reasons. “It has to be,” Ruben says. “For example, since the wind from the sea blows from the west, if we put the livestock shed west of the house, the smell is going to go straight to our living room. Everything has to be thought out.”   Ruben is among the hundreds of small farmers who benefited from direct financing from LANDBANK through the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF). The ACEF Lending Program is implemented by LANDBANK in partnership with the Department of Agriculture to help increase the productivity of farmers, fishers, and their cooperatives and associations, as well as MSMEs, through credit assistance. Since the Program was launched in 2018, the Bank has so far released P154.29 million in loans to more than 400 borrowers. Continuous learning Determined to improve his knowledge and skills, Ruben continuously attended seminars and technical courses related to farming. His one-year stint with the Federation of Agrarian Reform Communities further taught him basic knowledge and skills on effective farming and efficient marketing strategies.   Equipped with farm resource and basic entrepreneurial experience, Ruben hoped to further grow their family’s livelihood. Through LANDBANK-assisted Baug CARP Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BCBMPC) in Magallanes, Agusan del Norte, Ruben was able to buy seedlings and farm-inputs from a P15,000-loan from the coop. Over the next few years, he went to BCBMPC for more capital, including a P50,000 loan, to help him buy another half-hectare of land. He has also since then diversified into raising tilapia and various livestock. Before venturing into diversified and organic farming, his family’s income was so small.  Ruben recalls how they used to live in a wood and nipa house with no concrete floor. His farm also used to be overrun with tall grass and the land so infertile. Today, his integrated farm is planted with a variety of vegetables, fruits, and root crops. He also raises native chicken, turkey, goats, and cows; and he produces tilapia, dalag, and other native freshwater fish. He remains methodical as he implements organic farming – with the manure of his livestock and left-over vegetables allowed to naturally decompose for use as fertilizer; while the urine from his goats are for later use as plant insect repellent and fungicide.  In 2018, Ruben availed of the ACEF loan from LANDBANK, hoping to further expand his farm. Less than four months after the release of the loan, Ruben and his family launched The Ragas Farm where visitors are allowed to pick their choice of fruits and vegetables and buy them at significantly cheaper prices than retail market price.   Aside from working capital for vegetable production, LANDBANK also provided Ruben with a term loan for the improvement of his farm which includes the building of a training hall and a drilled well for their farm irrigation.   Through his methodical farming and the financial support provided by LANDBANK through the ACEF Fund, The Ragas Farm is now a major producer of farm-fresh vegetables. It is also fast becoming a major agri-tourism site – attracting visitors from different municipalities and serving as a venue for technology trainings for various small farmers. Ruben is now also an educator and life coach sought after by institutions to conduct lessons and seminars for aspiring agri-entrepreneurs. For his accomplishments in farming and inspiring drive to succeed, Ruben was awarded by LANDBANK as “Ulirang Magsasaka” in the 2015 Gawad sa Pinakatanging Kooperatiba.

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LANDBANK intensifies focus on direct lending to ARBs, small farmers

In support of the government’s aggressive drive to increase the productivity and income of farmers and fishers through greater access to financing, the Land Bank of the Philippines is pursuing a more focused and direct approach in lending to provide more Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) and individual small farmers with access to credit. “We are committed to vigorously extend our financial support to better serve small farmers and fishers, including ARBs, who need it most. We are strengthening our partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Agriculture to make sure that we reach the rightful beneficiaries of credit and technical support,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. AFFORD-ARBs LANDBANK put in place a P5-billion direct lending program called Accessible Funds For Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries or AFFORD-ARBs, which will specifically cater to ARBs engaged in rice, corn, and high-value crops production. The loan can also be used to finance the acquisition of small farm implements. DAR, as program partner, will provide a list of eligible ARBs that LANDBANK can focus on, and will handle the mobilization of borrowers for loan orientation and financial literacy seminars prior to loan release. Initial target beneficiaries of the Program are the roughly 58,000 recipients of the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) distributed from 2016 to 2018. Other eligible CARP beneficiaries based on the list to be provided by DAR shall also be granted credit assistance under the program.  True to its name, AFFORD-ARBs comes with affordable interest rate at 6% per annum for short term loans and 7% per annum for long term loans. EMBRACE Another program designed to include as many Filipinos as possible into the fold of formal financial services is the EMBRACE or Empowering Barangays in Remote Areas through Credit and Enterprise Program. This direct lending program gives priority to small farmers who are tilling not more than five hectares of agricultural land and small fishers engaged in small scale fishing, seaweed farming, and aquaculture in unserved municipalities. Also covered in the Program are micro enterprises with asset size of not more than P3 million and small enterprises with asset size of more than P3 million but not more than P15 million. Eligible projects include a wide array of agribusinesses, such as crop production, poultries, backyard piggeries, fishery production, as well as other agri-enterprise and livelihood projects. These programs complement the Bank’s other retail lending programs for farmers and fishers and its menu of credit programs for conduits such as cooperatives, rural banks, non-government organizations, and microfinance institutions which in turn re-lend to small farmers, fishers and microenterprises. Apart from credit support, LANDBANK also provides financial literacy and capability-building seminars to make sure borrowers are equipped with basic financial knowledge that will allow them to manage their finances and boost their income. “While we focus on expanding direct lending to small farmer and fishers, we remain equally committed to maintaining solid relationships with conduits and partners that help us move forward in the pursuit of our mandate. With the ratification of RA11321 or the Sagip Saka Act, we are more than ready to provide responsive financing to farmer- and fisher-enterprises to help improve their income and boost the sector’s productivity,” Borromeo added. LANDBANK remains as one of the biggest credit providers to small farmers, fishers, and MSMEs among government financial institutions.

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LANDBANK boosts support to farmers, fishers through retail loans

The Land Bank of the Philippines is further expanding its retail lending programs as it intensifies its support for small farmers and fishers. “As we seek to reach more farmers nationwide, we are heavily focusing on making retail loans accessible, especially to those who are not members of associations or cooperatives and are unable to obtain loans from  formal lending institutions on their own,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. While it continues to channel financing support to the sector through partner conduits such as farmers and fishers’ cooperatives, irrigators’ associations, and countryside financial institutions, the Bank is aggressively strengthening its retail lending programs to provide more individual borrowers with direct access to credit.   LANDBANK-funded programs A newly-enhanced direct lending program is the Accessible Funds For Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBs) Program, which will specifically cater to ARBs engaged in production of rice, corn, and high-value crops. The loan can also be used for the acquisition of small farm implements. The Program is a partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform, which will provide the Bank with a list of ARBs and mobilize borrowers for loan orientation and financial literacy seminars prior to loan release to ensure ARBs are equipped with the basic knowledge to manage their finances and learn about farm planning and budgeting. LANDBANK also implements the Empowering Barangays in Remote Areas through Credit and Enterprise (EMBRACE), a direct lending program with relaxed features and requirements for small farmers and fishers, as well as microenterprises and small enterprises (MSEs) in unserved municipalities. Eligible projects include agricultural crop, livestock, and fishery production, as well as agri-enterprise and other livelihood projects.   Support for National Government Programs LANDBANK also continues to strengthen its partnership with the Department of Agriculture as it implements retail lending programs for farmers, in pursuit of the government’s thrust towards improved agricultural productivity. A continuing partnership with DA is on the implementation of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) – a special purpose fund which aims to increase the productivity of individual farmers and fishers, and their cooperatives and associations, as well as MSMEs, through credit assistance. Since the Program was launched in 2018, LANDBANK has already released P96.6 million in loans to 172 borrowers, which helped finance their crop production requirements and purchase of agri-machineries, equipment, and facilities. In line with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, the Bank also works with DA on the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. LANDBANK and the Development Bank of the Philippines will each make P500 million in credit assistance available to small palay farmers. The financing assistance will come with minimal interest rate and minimum collateral requirements. LANDBANK also continues to implement the Sikat Saka Program, which provides direct credit and integrated support services to small palay and corn farmers who are members of Irrigators Associations or endorsed by Farmers Organizations. Sikat Saka covers 45 major rice-producing provinces and 11 corn-producing provinces in the country. Since its launch in 2012, the Program has already benefited 16,174 small farmers, with cumulative loan releases at P8.535 billion as of end-April.  Outstanding loans of 9,630 farmers as of the same period amounted to P909.93 million.  Farmer-borrowers are likewise trained on credit discipline and financial management to teach them how to save, pay loans on time, and better manage their finances. Also a continuing program is the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA) – a direct lending program funded by the Sugar Regulatory Administration specifically targeted at individual sugarcane farmers, block farms, and common service centers. As of April 2019, the Program has so far benefited 276 borrowers, with cumulative loan releases amounting to P27.738 million. “We continue to place utmost priority on providing responsive and relevant programs, especially to our priority sectors, as we work towards promoting growth that is inclusive and sustainable, especially in the countryside,” Borromeo added. Apart from credit support, LANDBANK also provides technical assistance such as financial literacy and capability-building seminars to make sure borrowers are equipped with basic financial knowledge that will allow them to optimize their loans to improve their income and boost their productivity. LANDBANK remains the biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers among government financial institutions.

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LANDBANK loans to priority sectors up 20% to P721.1B in Q1

Government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines remained aggressive in supporting small farmers, fishers, and its other priority sectors with loans amounting to P721 billion as of end-March 2019. This is higher by 20% than the P600 billion recorded in March 2018 and represents 93% of the Bank’s total loans to all sectors of P778.8 billion. The Bank’s identified priority sectors comprise of small farmers and fishers (SFFs) - a good part of which are agrarian reform beneficiaries - MSMEs, agri- and aqua-projects of local government units (LGU) and government-owned and controlled corporations, communications, transportation, housing, education, health care, environment-related projects, tourism, and utilities. “We at LANDBANK remain steadfast in directing support to our priority sectors, especially farmers and fishers, as we work towards making finance accessible and available to as many Filipinos as possible, especially in the countryside,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. The Bank’s support for the mandated sector grew by 12%, with outstanding loans to small farmers and fishers and their associations amounting to P45.3 billion as of March 2019. For the first three months of the year, LANDBANK released P13 billion in loans to the sector, benefiting 128,496 small farmers and fishers nationwide. Loans for agriculture and fisheries also rose by 19% to P172 billion from P144.0 billion in March 2018. These include agribusiness loans which grew by 29% to P114 billion from the year-ago level of P88.5 billion.  LANDBANK remains as a major provider of financial assistance to MSMEs, with P111.7 billion in outstanding loans to the sector as of end-March. It is also the biggest credit provider to the LGU sector, with outstanding loans reaching P50 billion as of end-March 2019. LANDBANK earlier reported a net income of P4.75 billion for the first quarter of 2019, higher by 12% from P4.26 billion in the same period last year. Borromeo said the Bank’s solid financial position allows it to further channel financial and technical support to farmers, fishers, and its other priority sectors, especially those in unbanked and underserved areas of the country. In line with its commitment to reach more farmers and fishers, LANDBANK continues to expand its retail lending programs and strengthen partnerships with government agencies like the Department of Agrarian Reform and Department of Agriculture.

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LANDBANK reports strong Q1 performance, banks on profits to further drive inclusive banking efforts

Government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines recorded solid growth in the first quarter of the year, with higher net income of P4.75 billion and double digit growth in loans, assets and deposits. The Bank’s net income for the three-month period is up by 12% from P4.26 billion in the same period last year. This is also 14% higher than the Bank’s first-quarter income target of P4.16 billion. Return on equity for the quarter was at 13.04%, while net interest margin stood at 3.42%, both above the latest industry averages. LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo attributed the strong first-quarter performance to substantial increase in income from loans and investments. Interest income on loans jumped 69% as the Bank’s gross loan portfolio grew to P867.32 billion from P708.10 billion in March 2018. Meanwhile, income from investments in financial assets grew by 43% to P6.36 billion from P4.44 billion. The Bank’s total assets likewise increased by 16% to P1.89 trillion from P1.63 trillion, while deposits grew by 17% to P1.68 trillion from P1.44 trillion in March last year. Total capital stood at P136.47 billion, a 26% increase from last year’s P108.37 billion. Borromeo said that this puts LANDBANK in a good position to further drive support for its priority sectors, especially to farmers and fishers, microenterprises and SMEs, agribusiness and other development players. “We work hard to maintain the Bank’s sound financial position as the profits from our commercial banking operations allow us to move toward our bigger mission of promoting inclusive growth, especially in areas where financial services are not easily available or accessible,” said Borromeo, who added that the Bank is continuously investing on technology to pursue its inclusive growth thrust and to provide greater convenience to clients. LANDBANK recently opened its 400th branch in Jagna, Bohol – marking its continuing expansion efforts to bring access to financial services and credit assistance, especially to the unbanked and underserved areas in the country. The Bank’s 400 branches are supplemented by 49 Branch-Lites, 44 Lending Centers and 2,018 ATMs all over the country. It targets to bring its total number of branches to 410 by the end of the year.

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