Almost 40 percent of the Philippines’ 95 million residents lives on less than $2 a day. Most of that population resides in rural areas, where access to financial services is already limited.
Rural areas suffer from lack of economic growth, jobs and opportunity. In addition, small businesses in those areas lack access to capital, and also find it difficult to manage risk: They frequently suffer from natural disasters and changes in agriculture production.
BridgeBridge will establish a network of innovative, dynamic, mission-driven provincial banks located in rural Philippines. Bridge’s aim is to create jobs and opportunity by extending high-quality financial services to businesses, farmers and individuals in areas currently poorly served.
In early 2013, Accion and four other partners—Bamboo Finance, DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft), FMO and social entrepreneur Paul Kocourek—launched the Bridge Fund, a U.S. $24.2 million fund dedicated to building Filipino banks in provincial areas. Bridge will make equity investments into successful Filipino banks serving lower income populations and micro and small businesses, and also provide these banks a range of capability building services to help them grow faster and serve more people. Accion will provide both funding as well as management services and technical assistance to Bridge and its investee banks.