What is LifeBank’s History?
LifeBank Foundation: A History
Life Bank Foundation, Inc. (LBF) is a non-stock, non-profit organization which aspires to break the chains of poverty by providing basic financial services in the form of loans, savings, and micro-insurance products to the enterprising poor women across the Philippines. LBF also provides social and sustainable development projects to reach the country’s lower poor strata aside from that of the enterprising poor since 2003.
The genesis of LifeBank Foundation, Inc. (LBF) may be traced back to LifeBank Rural Bank (LBRB). Founded in 1970, LBRB had been offering the usual lending products until 1995 when it ventured into microfinance using a modified Grameen approach. After 5 years, LBRB adopted the ASA methodology in 2001 through the UNDP Microstart Project. The new approach was more successful for LBRB and when expansion was constrained by the prevailing regulatory environment for rural banks, LBRB provided seed funds to establish LBF as a non-stock, non-profit organization in January 2003. Thereafter, LBF focused on its mission to provide microfinance and social services for the enterprising poor and there was no looking back.
LBF now has 383,603 women entrepreneurs with 163 staff at the Central Office and 1,791 staff in the 339 unit offices throughout the Philippines.
Highlights of LBF's Growth
Enrolls members and deepens the use of ASA methodology
LBF obtained its first loan for lending amounting to P6.2 million from CordAid, a foreign funder. LBF ended the year with 5,143 members, 10 units, and 39 staff.
More loans, members, and staff
LBF obtained more loans (totaling P17.2 million), and expanded to 15,974 members, 17 units, and 77 staff by year-end.
Finding New Partners
LBF obtained a total of P10 million in loans for the year and expanded to 27,354 members, 39 units, and 162 staff by year-end. Discussions started with Unitus, a US-based global microfinance accelerator, and other potential partners.
More Partnerships Formed
LBF obtained a total of P41.4 million in loans for the year and expanded to 66,542 members, 111 units, and 452 staff by year-end. Partnership with Unitus was finalized and put into effect in November.
Beginning of International Collaborations
Unitus facilitated LBF’s entry into its global network and the Efficiency Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Kick-off for the project was in July 2007. Also in July, LBF crossed the 100,000-member mark. LBF obtained a total of P132.252 million in loans for the year to date, and had 125,714 members, 169 units, and 823 staff.
The planned opening of 40 new units to reach 210,000 borrowers was exceeded with the actual new units opened of 50 and 214,000 borrowers reached. A total of 8 external and 6 internal training courses attended by 80 staff were held to align staff with LBF’s mission, vision, values and goals.
Important modifications on the ASA approach piloted in the early part of 2009 were developed, examples of which are the creation of systems, procedures and, processes to enhance operational efficiency and competitive positioning. IMP Version 3.0 was introduced. Planet Rating, a specialized global microfinance rating agency, conducted an evaluation of LBF’s performance and status after having their last assessment in March 2007 using the GIRAFE methodology. LBF gained the “B rating with Positive Outlook” in this assessment.
Professionalization of systems started this year. MIS roll out started on March 2010 followed by the transfer of Headquarters to the present office on August. The first medical mission was also held on November 2010. Strong partnerships with Gawad Kalinga, Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation, Inc., Gamot Cogon Institute and Seaboard Eastern Insurance Company were established.
This year was the merging of the Social Services Program (SSP) and Visionary Corporate Social Responsibility (VCSR) Program into the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program. Adoption of a liquidity policy and refinement of LBF’s vision, mission, and strategic framework and their corresponding strategic initiatives was implemented.
Strengthening LBF’s Impacts
LBF management adopted a theme for 2012, namely, Simplicity, Synergy, and Sustainability (the Triple-S). HDBP’s roadmap for 2012 focused on piloting, refining, and rolling out the implementation of HD Managers at district level. As part of the Board’s decision that LBF should be more active in external relations and networking within the MF industry. LBF management joined the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) to strengthen LBF’s relationship with the microfinance (MF) industry. LBF also rejoined the credit bureau project of MFIs as a charter member. The credit bureau for MFIs was formally established as the Microfinance Data Sharing System (MiDAS), which LBF also joined. The 2 MF methodologies (Version 2 and 3) were simplified into one unified methodology (Version 2012, which is a slight variation of Version 3). Values formation (VF) program in partnership with GK teams was implemented in various selected locations.
CBE and SEP
The 4-S Theme – Simplicity, Synergy, Sustainability, and Social Conscience was put into practice. The 2-2-0-2 Program for free micro-insurance (MI) was completed and the program was implemented on January. This received positive feedback. The Center for Bayanihan Economics (CBE) was established at the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan. CBE is part of the Social Enterprise Program (SEP) which aims to generate agricultural and agri-related studies which were going to be used by the program, participating social enterprises and external partners.