New Study Profiles How CARD Bank in the Philippines is Using the Progress out of Poverty Index® to Enhance Savings Programs for the Poor

Third in a New Series Profiling Innovative Uses of the PPI

Nov. 3, 2011 - Grameen Foundation today released a new study showcasing how CARD Bank, the first licensed microfinance-oriented rural bank in the Philippines is using the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®) to tailor its savings program to meet the needs of the poor. In 2009, Grameen Foundation’s Microsaving team began working with CARD Bank to help it transform from a credit-focused institution to a bank that offers a full range of financial services geared towards poor clients. To ensure it is reaching that goal, CARD is using the PPI data to segment clients by poverty level and to develop appropriate products for them.

CARD Bank began using the PPI, a country-specific poverty assessment tool, in 2006, but did not have a full technology platform and the necessary controls in place to rigorously analyze its clients’ status until it joined Grameen Foundation’s Microsavings Initiative. It has since updated its management information system so that PPI data that is entered at all 45 branches is now available at its headquarters in San Pablo City, Laguna – a critical step in implementing a completely automated core banking system that will give its management a more complete and accurate picture of its clients and their financial behavior. This fresh analysis of the PPI data is giving CARD new insight into its clients saving patterns and needs, and also the effect of poverty status on people’s ability to save.

This study, the third in a series that profiles the innovative uses of the poverty assessment tool, is available at //

"We are excited about the additional information the PPI gives us on our customers.  Because of the richer analysis we are now able to do, we can be confident that we are designing savings products that suit the needs of the poor and reaching our overall poverty targets." said Dolores M. Torres, president and CEO of CARD Bank.

The bank offers several savings products, including a compulsory account linked to a microloan account (additional voluntary savings can be conveniently added at center meetings), a regular savings account, a recurring fixed deposit account, and a time deposit account.  Most of CARD Bank’s members actively contribute additional voluntary savings to their weekly required amount in the compulsory account. CARD Bank has offered the other ‘voluntary’ savings products to its members and the general public for several years, with little success.

”Poor people face tremendous uncertainty and having a savings account is vitally important in helping them manage financials shocks,” said Jennifer Meehan, Grameen Foundation’s Regional CEO for Asia.  “CARD Bank is demonstrating how the PPI can be used to design design appropriate and relevant options for poor people to save their money.”

Two activities showed CARD Bank how PPI data could be used for product development in particular. First, a baseline study conducted last year with 203 of CARD Bank’s voluntary savings clients found that a client’s poverty status does not influence the client’s ability to save as much as their access to a suitable savings product.  Based on this finding, CARD Bank has designed additional products and increased the accessibility of both loan and savings products by offering lower minimum balances and collecting deposits outside the branches – features that make these products more inclusive of the very poor. Second, CARD Bank analyzed PPI data together with financial and other data on 168,000 clients. This analysis showed that poverty level, socio-economic indicators, length of time as a client, the mix of products selected, and the client’s financial profile were the most effective characteristics for segmenting its customers. This segmentation presents compelling opportunities for targeted marketing and cross-selling, especially for the voluntary savings account. 

CARD Bank has begun collecting PPI data for all of its 580,000 clients – information is collected when clients join the bank, start a new loan cycle, open a savings account or leave the bank – giving it rich data to support business decisions, product development, and better marketing strategies.

About the Progress out of Poverty Index®
The Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) is a country-specific assessment tool that helps institutions measure outreach to the poor, monitor changes in economic well-being of clients and provide data that helps managers improve the effectiveness of programs and services. Building on the concept of Grameen Bank’s 10-Point System, the PPI was commissioned by Grameen Foundation, in collaboration with Consultative Group to Assist the Poor  (CGAP), Ford Foundation and Microfinance Risk Management L.L.C. Launched in 2005, the PPI is now being used by 106 institutions worldwide. For more information,

About CARD Bank
CARD Bank currently serves more than 580,000 clients, including and 490,000 active voluntary depositors across the country.  It is part of a group of nine entities that make up the CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (or MRI).  The Bank has a license as a micro-finance oriented rural bank and is the only entity in the MRI that can legally mobilize deposits. Together with CARD NGO it has the largest microfinance outreach in the Philippines of more than 1.4 million clients.

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty by providing access to financing and management strategies to the local organizations that serve them. It also develops mobile phone-based solutions that address “information poverty” among the poor by providing tools, information and services in the fields of health, agriculture, financial services and livelihood creation. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Colombia; Ghana; Hong Kong; the Philippines; and Uganda. Microfinance pioneer Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is a founding member of its Board of Directors, and now serves as director emeritus. For more information, please visit