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MABS: A Sustainable Approach to Rural Microfinance

This paper presents the case of Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) program in the Philippines. The MABS program has worked with 37 banks through a network of 102 rural bank branches in the Philippines, by helping them provide financial services to the rural poor. The MABS Approach includes: * Intensive one-on-one technical assistance, workshops, seminars, in-bank coaching, and exposure and training visits to participant banks. * Assigning each bank a technical advisor who makes sure that the training and technical assistance is delivered efficiently. * Imparting focused attention and support to each participant bank, including the following from MABS: o Institutional assessment; o Senior management orientation; o Market survey; o Product development/ enhancement; o Management information system (MIS) enhancement; o Business planning; o On-the-job training (including sessions on cashflow lending and zero tolerance of delinquency); o Development of in-house training capacity. The author concludes that by working with local institutions and employing best practice principles, MABS has proven that microfinance can be sustainable while serving the rural poor and is a demonstration model for future international efforts to address poverty.


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