April 22, 2024

BPI recognized as the Philippines’ Best Sustainable Bank for the 3rd straight year

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The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) was recently recognized by International Business Magazine (IBM) as the Best Sustainable Bank in the Philippines in 2024 – the Bank’s third consecutive year to receive such recognition. This recognition from IBM is the sixth ESG-focused Award of BPI in 2024, a feat that the Bank has achieved in less than three months.

In 2023, BPI garnered a record of 14 ESG-focused Awards, signifying the Bank’s leadership in Sustainability. Established in 1851, BPI is the first bank in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. Since the 1980s, BPI has also embraced Sustainability in the conduct of its business, the first local bank to do so. The Bank’s Sustainability commitment emanates from the top, with BPI Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala being named one of the 10 Corporate Champions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the world in 2017.

BPI has a board-approved Sustainability Agenda, which serves as a guide for integrating Sustainability principles into its strategic objectives, operations, corporate governance, and risk management frameworks. Under this agenda is the Bank’s Sustainability Strategy, comprised of the following pillars.

First is Responsible Banking, in which BPI offers financial products and services that integrate ESG criteria into business decisions, supporting economic growth while providing lasting benefits for both clients and society. Second is Responsible Operations, wherein BPI aims to manage its environmental and social resources responsibly in its day-to-day operations.

BPI logo

Responsible Banking: Sustainability products launched in 2023 BPI launched a comprehensive suite of sustainability-focused financial products and services in 2023 to meet every Filipino’s banking needs.

BPI also forged a Green Bond Deal with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank. Under the deal, IFC invested USD 250 million in a green bond issued by BPI. The proceeds were mainly used to finance eligible green assets in the Philippines, including renewable energy (RE), energy efficiency, green buildings, electric vehicles (EVs), and climate-smart agriculture projects.

For its bond offerings, the Bank offered the Php 20.3 billion BPI Reinforcing Inclusive Support for MSMEs Bonds (BPI RISE Bonds) to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which serve as the backbone of the Philippine economy.

To help bolster the Philippines’ drive to increase RE capacity, BPI and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) financed an Php 11 billion Sustainability-Linked Loan for ACEN, the Ayala group’s listed energy platform. The equally split loan between ADB and BPI (which includes a partial credit guarantee by ADB) is intended to finance ACEN’s solar projects in the country.

BPI also launched Ka-Negosyo On The Go, an online loan application platform for business loans. This platform allows SMEs to complete and submit their loan application online, at their own convenience, anytime and anywhere. Ka-Negosyo On The Go features an intuitive product finder to guide SMEs in selecting the Ka-Negosyo Loan that fits their needs, and an Eligibility Checker to determine loan sustainability based on their requirements and capabilities. Since its launch in June 2023, BPI has engaged with over 100,000 users on the platform, guided over 10,000 SMEs in determining their eligibility for a business loan, and processed over 500 business loan applications through Ka Negosyo On The Go.

These include Secure Assist Lite, a comprehensive non-life insurance offering by BPI’s microfinance arm BanKo, in collaboration with BPI MS – the Bank’s non-life insurance subsidiary. This bundled product provides essential cash assistance to clients whose properties have been affected by calamities, emphasising BanKo’s role in mitigating the impact of unforeseen events on its clients’ lives and livelihoods.

BanKo also began offering the InstaCashKo Line – a short-term Microfinance credit line for self-employed micro-entrepreneurs (SEMEs) requiring bridge financing, achieving 136% growth.  Additionally, it began assisting SEMEs in expanding their operations with the Max500 regular term loan, offering higher loan amounts. BanKo’s Agri Loan Financing for small-scale farmers formally acting as suppliers to Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) also achieved a significant milestone in 2023 – boasting a 100% repayment rate (or 0% non-performing loan) through incentivizing on-time amortisation payments. This innovative financing facility offered more affordable rates compared to other lenders who charge much higher rates on microloans.

Responsible Operations: Sustainability initiatives in 2023

BPI also took on the following innovations to advance Sustainability practices by incorporating them into daily business activities. These efforts include the use of 100% renewable energy (RE) in BPI corporate offices.

In January, BPI Consumer Center and BPI Intramuros buildings shifted their electricity source from the national grid to 100% RE with the support of ACEN, upping the count of corporate offices sourcing electricity solely from RE to three.

More BPI branches received an IFC-EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification. In 2023, six additional branches became IFC EDGE-certified, bringing the total number to 11. EDGE is the IFC-World Bank certification for Green Buildings. Employees of BPI’s corporate offices in Makati City took advantage of the Bank’s free eshuttle. Aside from transporting employees in between the offices, the electric vehicles (EVs) bring them to and from nearby train stations. The EV adoption is expected to substantially reduce BPI’s diesel consumption by 30,000 litters per year, translating into a decrease of 40,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

BPI also continued to strengthen its digital banking platforms, which complement traditional brick-and-mortar branches. Under BPI’s “May BPI Dito” (There’s BPI here) program, the Bank has established tie ups with 18 physical retail partners, allowing customers to have more than 5,000 alternative touchpoints to apply for and avail of a BPI product. Customers can access their preferred BPI product by simply scanning QR codes in any of our agency partners.

Agency Banking also began overseeing the operation of BPI’s Flagship Store in LazMall, making BPI the first and only bank in Southeast Asia to offer its products and services in the Lazada app. Clients can avail themselves of their preferred product by adding it to their cart and checking it out like an online shopper.

Another Agency Banking innovation is Salary On-Demand, offered to BPI corporate clients whose payroll accounts are with the Bank. It allows companies to give their employees access their earned wages before payday.

The BanKo Mobile App registered a 99% surge in user base with the addition of some 300,000 new customers. This resulted in 886,000 transactions worth Php 2.8 billion. By simply downloading the app, inputting personal information, and uploading a valid government ID, clients can (1) open a savings account without a maintaining balance and enjoy 5% interest rate per annum, (2) apply for and pay off loans, (3) receive rebates when buying prepaid telco load products, and (4) conduct bill payment transactions for a minimum fee. BanKo also waived fees for InstaPay transactions, enhancing the accessibility of the Bank’s digital financial services.

In addition, BanKo partnered with IT developers to launch the e’Nay App — a digital platform that connects retailers and distributors for ordering, inventory management, payment, and order fulfilment. The app serves as a marketplace that enables sari-sari store owners to order directly from the distributor and have their orders delivered the same day to their sari-sari stores, streamlining the logistics of replenishing their inventory.

As of year-end 2023, e’Nay has reached 6.4K active users with 14K orders (an average of 2.2 orders per client) amounting to Php 4.3M amount of orders.

BPI constantly drives Sustainability in the Philippine banking industry, with pioneering initiatives focused on environmental protection, social responsibility, and good governance. As BPI sets a path via transformative, cutting-edge, and record-setting sustainability innovations, the Bank empowers its clients, employees, and all other stakeholders to help build a better Philippines – one family, one community at a time.

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