Bank opens 1st branch in Cebu City

THE Rural Bank of Rizal is expanding its presence nationwide, with the opening of its first branch in Cebu City.

The bank’s management said they plan to further expand in the Visayas region, and establish a presence in the north and south of Cebu Province within the next two to three years.

Albert Concha Jr., president of Rural Bank of Rizal, said the bank aims to become the preferred banking partner for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that face challenges accessing commercial banks.

The bank, he said, also aims to cater to the unbanked population in Cebu.

“We are always encouraging member banks to go out and expand and serve more people and find their own niche in the communities they serve. That’s why we are here and we’re going to the big cities,” said Concha, who was the immediate past president of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines.

“Rural banking has been a competitive business although highly regulated. Nowadays, a rural bank that doesn’t expand will die a slow natural death,” he added.

On Monday, May 15, 2023, Rural Bank of Rizal commenced its first banking operations in Cebu City, located on the ground floor of One Mango along General Maxilom Ave. This branch is the bank’s 15th overall.

Concha said the bank acknowledges the MSMEs’ role being the country’s economic backbone and a huge contributor of both employment and revenues.

Eighty percent of the bank’s loan portfolio are serving the MSME sector, including those in the agriculture, he said.

According to Concha, the bank offers a range of financial services, including jewelry loans, pension loans, salary loans, heavy equipment loans, overseas Filipino worker or seaman’s loans and car loans.

The bank official said he is optimistic regarding small business loans in Cebu.

Concha mentioned that the bank’s jewelry loan carries an interest rate of one to 1.5 percent, significantly lower than the rates offered by pawnshops, which range from three to 3.5 percent.

“We are flexible in our loans and reasonable in our interest rates. We tailor-fit financial services based on what our clients need and their capacity to pay,” he said.

Opening a bank account with the Rural Bank of Rizal costs only P100, with a minimum maintaining balance of P2,000.

Concha added that expanding in Cebu also bodes well for the bank’s clients across its 14 branch network.

“Our coming to Cebu will be convenient for all our depositors because that means they can withdraw from their accounts here,” said Concha, adding that the Rural Bank of Rizal is one of the rural banks in the country that already embraced a cloud-based banking system.

After establishing a branch in Cebu City, the bank intends to expand further into the north and south of Cebu, recognizing the province’s potential for growth.

“We intend to open in bigger cities first then go down to smaller municipalities,” said Concha.

The Rural Bank of Rizal has branches in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City, Misamis Occidental and Negros Oriental.

The bank’s total assets amount to P950 million. It has a depositor base of 21,000 spread across the 14 branches.