Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today lauded the role of the thrift banks in helping formulate microfinancing schemes that help the poor avail of housing opportunities.

“You possess the unique expertise and creativity needed to help piece this intricate puzzle. It is your professionals and organizations that are intimately familiar with the circumstances and considerations of the towns and areas that can most benefit from novel micro-financing measures,” Binay said during the 2012 Chamber of Thrift Banks’ Convention.

“Along these lines, this convention once again provides solid ground for building bridges between micro-enterprise finance and socialized, pro-
poor housing finance, and distilling how housing microfinance can be used to increase economic benefits of poor families,” Binay added.

The Vice President noted the evolution of micro-enterprise finance in the past decade, and posited that the success of housing microfinance comes from its demand-driven approach.

“The clients’ ability to pay for the services is the starting point of all efforts to design and implement housing microfinance products and services. This being the case, housing microfinance also favors construction of houses on an incremental basis or building the houses of the clients in a progressive manner over a period of time,” he said.

“Given the increasing maturity of this vehicle, we seek to provide much needed housing opportunities to our less fortunate kababayans through micro-financing,” he added.

Binay also told the bankers that government’s commitment of making Housing Microfinance a “cornerstone of our socially responsible housing” agenda is seen in its standing as a policy direction and pivotal strategy for hitting our shelter targets.”

He cited the Housing Microfinance ProductManual, which was developed jointly by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Development Bank of the Philippines in 2008, as a concrete policy action.

The manual outlines how banking Microfinance Institutions can access funds from DBP’s facility under the Asian Development Bank-assisted Development of Poor Urban Communities Sector Project (DPUCSP), which enable the former to service the housing needs of those unable to access more traditional channels.

According to Binay, who serves as the chairman of the HUDCC, “the progress gained within the first two years was most encouraging so much so that in 2010, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas opened housing microfinance to non-DPUCSP banks and MFIs as well. By 2011, around 24 banks were engaged in HMF activities and we expect that soon more will follow suit.”