A year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, Mercy Corps is helping expand mobile banking solutions in remote, low-income communities hardest hit by the storm. Mobile technology is cheap, and easy to learn to use, making it a valuable asset to relief organizations worldwide who struggle to deliver aid to disaster victims.
Partnering together to provide cost-effective solutions for families and individuals with need, Mercy Corps and BPI Globe BanKO, the Philippines’ first mobile phone-based savings bank, have distributed a total of US $2.3 million in emergency cash assistance to typhoon-affected families since the storm hit 12 months ago.
“By delivering cash assistance through a mobile banking system, our emergency relief efforts not only helped more than 25,000 people rebuild their lives, but also connected many people to banking services for the first time,” says Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive officer of Mercy Corps. “In a country of 7,000 islands where most people don’t have access to traditional brick-and-mortar banks, thousands can now save money securely, take out affordable loans and purchase insurance.”
Mercy Corps and BanKO have been working together in the Philippines since 2011, providing mobile banking solutions for the poor.
They are also testing a new small-business loan for typhoon survivors in the Visayas region. “Although one year has passed, many people are still struggling,” says Keny-Guyer. “Being able to borrow money at affordable rates and reasonable repayment schedules will help tremendously as people continue to rebuild their livelihoods and gain greater financial security.”
[Image Credit: Mercy Corps]
It is refreshing to see a bank using mobile banking technology to do some good. It’s a great resource for relief organizations who can’t always get aid to the remote areas that need it the most. I hope that mobile banking for disaster relief efforts will start being used worldwide.
It’s nice to see organizations that are providing help to people who need it most. There should be more banking options like this in the world that way people who are struck by tragedy aren’t waiting forever to get the money they need to help rebuild their lives.
I also agree that this is one of the generous things I’ve seen a bank do lately. Seems like a lot of banks have just been so focused on greed. I’m glad to see that it helped so many people.