Celebrating 60 years with the Entrepreneurs of the Countryside
Bangko Kabayan, a bank that grew from a one unit rural bank in the small rural town of Ibaan, to a 23-branch private development bank covering 160 cities and municipalities in 3 provinces of the premier region in the Philippines, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary with some 2500 clients and stakeholders gathered in Batangas Coliseum, Batangas City.
Upon hearing the message of Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare movement, Bangko Kabayan (then named Ibaan Rural Bank), Francis and Teresa Ganzon, majority stockholders of the enterprise, were inspired to re-orient and grow the small bank in order to expand its services to cover more countryside depositors and borrowers, provide more employment opportunities especially for professionals who preferred not to migrate to the urban centers, an d to generate more resources to put at the service of more people, particular those in need.
“We felt a calling when we first heard Chiara,” says Teresa, when interviewed in the video of the Bangko Kabayan story. ”This is it. This is what you are meant to do with your life – to have an enterprise at the service of the greater good.”
Francis speaks of the small entrepreneurs without access to formal banking services because of the many requirements of commercial banks, for them to qualify for a loan. “We wanted to help bridge this gap, to help create wealth in the rural areas by helping the 99% who make up the economy of the country – the micro, small and medium enterprises.”
Sixty years later, Bangko Kabayan decided to celebrate with their clients, showcasing their products inside the coliseum, dedicating the program of the day to recognize start-up social enterprises by returning overseas Filipino worker family members, launching a micro loan product that would provide affordable potable water to the small households so they would not have to continuously buy bottled water and introducing an insurance feature for the parents of kiddie savers.
Various government officials and the Deputy Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the main regulating body of the banking industry of the country, took turns in congratulating a home-grown financial institution that did not lose its vision to serve the rural population despite its growth over the decades.
The last three hours of the day were dedicated to honoring employees of the bank who were recognized for their passion and dedication to the vision and mission of the enterprise. Long service awards, excellence in education recognition for managers who labored to acquire their masteral degrees, employees and managers who were nominated by their colleagues at work for the inspiration they provided by living the core values of the bank in their daily work, employees who had extraordinary concern for the communities they served – these were but a few of those who were given recognition as models and living proof that it is indeed possible to be value-driven in a financial institution. And that values can carry the day forward for an enterprise and its people, amidst the growing competitive environment that it must survive in.