Friday, August 03, 2007

LandBank opens P3b worth of credit facility

Land Bank of the Philippines has launched a P3-billion wholesale credit facility to support environment and farm projects and small and medium enterprises.

Land Bank’s countryside loan fund, called credit support for the environment, agribusiness and small and medium enterprises, aims to improve the access of borrowers to medium and long-term lending needed for agriculture and environmental projects.

It is also designed to intensify the bank’s support to priority sectors, mainly farmers, fisherfolk and small and medium enterprises.

“Through the CLF-CREAM, we hope to be able to expand our credit outreach and support more high-impact development projects that contribute to job generation, promote environmental protection and support entrepreneurship,” says LandBank president and chief executive Gilda Pico.

The fund is open to commercial, thrift and rural banks as well as nonbank financial institutions accredited under a similar program funded by the World Bank before.

Banks and non-bank financial institutions can re-lend the funds to sole-proprietorships, partnerships and corporations as well as cooperatives and associations that are at least 70-percent Filipino-owned.

LandBank has earmarked P3 billion for the facility, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The bank can lend as much as P300 million to a sub-borrower, which can use the funds for working capital and fixed asset requirements.

LandBank reported a net income of P1.05 billion in the first quarter of the year, up 16 percent from a year ago, on track to meet its P4-billion target for the year.

Loan portfolio grew 6 percent to P155.12 billion during the period while deposits expanded 19 percent to P280.83 billion.

LandBank has been shifting loans to priority sectors, specifically farmers and fisherfolk, microenterprises, environment projects and infrastructure, among others.

Loans to priority sectors hit P80.1 billion in the first quarter of the year, accounting for 69 percent of total loans from P77.4 billion or 65 percent in the same period last year.

Pico said the bank had established a P1-billion equity investment program to support microfinance operations in the countryside.

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