Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Chair of the Senate Committee on
Cooperatives, and the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO)
has unveiled a nationwide payment system to provide NATCCO members
throughout the country, convenient access to basic financial services.
The card-based system, which NATCCO says was built by Filipino
developers, takes advantage of the ever-expanding mobile communication
facilities in the country. Co-operatives under NATCCO will be able to
easily dispense loans to its members. Members will be alerted by
cellphone, and will be able to claim their loans at participating
cooperative branches, upon presenting their cards. Members just have to
send a text message to remit payments to NATCCO.
Sen. Zubiri particularly praised one of the unique features of the
system, which allows NATCCO members with friends and families overseas
to receive remittances at a cost of just US$1 per transaction.
The senator said that with remittance transaction costs averaging 13.5%,
the NATCCO system has the potential to bring in an additional US$1.6B to
the local economy.
According to Zubiri, the average amount of overseas remittance is
US$200. For this amount, US$27 is charged to send the remittance ÃÂ¢ÃÂ a far
cry, he says, from the rate NATCCO is charging.
NATCCO Chairperson Wilfredo Dimamay describes the system as something
the country should be proud of: “The system was developed by Filipino IT
professionals; it builds on the Filipino fascination with text
messaging; and it is a solution that also truly benefits many of our
“The NATCCO initiative is in keeping with its mission of providing basic
financial services to Filipinos ÃÂ¢ÃÂ particularly those in the
countryside,” explains NATCCO CEO Cresente Paez.
“There is still a vast segment of the population that needs access to
credit and payment facilities,” he says.
Sen. Zubiri and NATCCO officials are optimistic that the system will
spur microfinance and micro-commerce, and will generate success similar
to that achieved in Bangladesh by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad
Yunnus and the Grameen Bank.
“This is about the big picture,” says Sen. Zubiri, “It’s about serving
the Filipinos in the fields – those who have little or no access to
basic financial services. Bangladesh did something to serve their
underserved citizens. NATCCO is doing the same thing ÃÂ¢ÃÂ but in the