Atty. Francis S. Ganzon: Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2017 Finalist

 

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(October 18, 2017 at Rizal Ballroom, Makati Shangri-La Hotel Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City, Philippines)

 

Atty. Francis Ganzon took his law studies at the Ateneo de Manila College of Law. After graduating from law school, he worked as an associate lawyer but left his legal career to join his father-in-law’s business, Ibaan Rural Bank, Inc. (IRB).

The IRB was in the midst of a bank run and most of the bank personnel were involved in fraud cases. Mr. Ganzon had to replace the staff, and regain the trust of the banks depositors. He went around local barangays, campaigning to the public and promising a different management style. He also explained the importance of having a local rural bank. Slowly, the public started trusting IRB again.

Mr. Ganzon states that the bank started focusing on instilling professionalism and a people-centered service. He shares that the only way they were able to survive was to sell off Real and Other Properties Acquired (ROPAs) from loans on which clients defaulted. Deposit generation became the IRB’s primary focus, since the bank was in rehabilitation and was not allowed to provide lending services. It took the IRB 10 years to effect the turn-around.

Mr. Ganzon is a member of a faith community called the Focolare Movement, which promotes a concept of Economy of Communion, a practice of businesses being used as a tool to help the poor. Inspired by this, the Ibaan Rural Bank Foundation was establish in 1996, with the purpose of extending micro-credit and scholarship programs such as “Study now, Pay later” for poor but deserving students and sponsoring community-building seminars. In 1997, when the Asian financial crisis occurred, Mr. Ganzon says that they survived because of their strong deposit base. In the same year, the bank celebrated its 40th anniversary, and renamed itself BangkoKabayan because they wanted their customers to know that the bank treated them all as neighbors and fellow countrymen. In 2000, BangkoKabayan heard about the success of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank in using microfinance to give the poor access to credit and opportunities to uplift their lives. Seeing its value, the bank adopted microfinances as a main product. Mr. Ganzon explains that this formed a “collateral of trust”, where they trust the people they give loans out to and in return those clients trust in the bank to look out their best interests.

After that, BangkoKabayan changed their vision to be the preferred SME credit provider in Region IV, opening 23 Branches in the provinces of Batangas, Quezon and Laguna.

BangkoKabayan has received recognitions over the years. In 2007, it received the best Capital Build-up in the Landbank Awards and was included in the Global Top 100 of Microfinance Information Exchange. It was named the outstanding Land Bank of the Philippines partner bank in the region from 2008, 2011 and again in 2013 and 2015. BangkoKabayan received the Microenterprise Access to Banking Services’ MF Eagle Award from 2003, 2007 and again in 2010 and 2011.

The next phase for BangkoKabayan is focusing on building a treasury to have a balanced portfolio of loans and treasury revenues. It also plans to invest in more technology, especially internet banking.