Crowd-funding campaign launches to expand financial inclusion in the Philippines


Mothers (nanays) who run neighborhood shops will provide digital financial services in remote areas

MANILA, March 22, 2017 – For the first time, social impact investing in the Philippines will directly benefit the mothers operating sari-sari stores (neighborhood shops) and their clients in poor rural and urban areas.  

These stores, which already play a crucial role in connecting and supplying underserved communities, can now fill a major gap in bringing formal financial services to their customers. Currently, more than one-third of the country’s 7,107 islands have no banking infrastructure, and only 43 percent of adults in the Philippines have formal savings accounts.

The campaign, launched today by FundKo and Grameen Foundation, will provide sari-sari store owners with access to the initial capital needed to operate as digital financial service agents for their mostly poor and unbanked clientele. By the end of 2017, the CAN network aims to include over 600 sari-sari stores, and reach 66,000 customers across several islands. 

These enterprising mothers, or “nanays” in the Filipino language, will be equipped with digital technology to help customers send payments, transfer money to loved ones, deposit money into a digital account, and more – all through their mobile phones.  

“Mobile financial services have been key to alleviating poverty in countries like Kenya,” said Gigi Gatti, Philippines country director for Grameen Foundation. “Now we’re launching a uniquely Filipino approach: equipping our country’s beloved nanays with a mobile application designed specifically for them.” 

There are more than 500,000 registered sari-sari stores across the country—and twice that number operating informally. The program contends that, given the opportunity, the stores could help fill the financial services gap for poor families. 

Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit that uses technology to empower the poor, especially women, launched the Community Agent Network (CAN) Program last December. It engages nanays to take on the new role as financial service providers.  Grameen Foundation partnered with Payswitch Fintech Ventures to design the new digital financial technology, called Panalo.

But most nanays have a few cash reserves, and at Php 12,500.00 (or $250.00) Panalo is expensive for many. Therefore, Grameen is partnering with FundKo, a crowd funding platform that connects lenders and borrowers. The campaign lets lenders select one or more nanays to support, providing access to initial capital used to purchase a tablet or smart phone and gain access to the Panalo app.

“This campaign uses the power of crowd lending to build upon the traditional role of nanays, transforming them in to financial service providers,” said Christian Monsod III, President and CEO of FundKo. “It gives our lenders the opportunity to have an immediate social impact and help achieve increased social cohesion and economic development through widespread financial inclusion.”

Most nanays are full-time mothers, and work 12- to 15-hour days in their shops to support their families. Their small shops provide for their communities’ basic needs, from food products to household goods. The program will enable nanays to increase their own earnings through small commissions on the services they provide, while expanding financial inclusion for the communities.

To support the nanays, visit FundKo. To invest through FundKo you must be a Filipino citizen. Non-Filipino citizens are welcome to support the work of CAN through Grameen Foundation.

Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit whose mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.  Our programs combine expertise and services in three key areas: digital financial services for women; mobile agricultural solutions for smallholder farmers; and health financing and access for the poor. Follow us on Twitter: @GrameenFdn. Like us on Facebook.

Fundko (also known as Fintechnology Inc.) is a private company that operates a crowdlending platform that connects verified lenders and borrowers and whose main objective is financial inclusion for both borrowers and lenders. FundKo is a subsidiary of Guevent Investments Development Corporation (GIDC) – a company that has over 50 years of operations with a business footprint that spans across the entire Philippine archipelago.

Payswitch Fintech Ventures is the only agnostic financial services platform that aggregates the most number of digital products under a single customisable wallet. They envision to be the preferred digital financial services platform of businesses and consumers in traditionally underserved and unserved markets in the world. In 2016, Auto Top-Up Ventures Inc, the holding company of Payswitch, launched its holistic community agent network program as Panalo!, which runs on the technology of Payswitch, for the purpose of raising up financial inclusion champions in unbanked areas of the country. // or
Liselle Yorke (U.S.) +202-794-7327 lyorke [at] 
Gigi Gatti (Philippines) +632 6617616 ggatti [at]