The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) is planning on opening a satellite office in Palawan for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

In an issued statement, Ma. Angela Tinio, RCBC’s first senior vice president and head of the SME Banking Group, said it is targeted at contributing to national economic development and GDP growth.

Aside from Palawan, they are also planning to set up in Bohol, Nueva Ecija, and several areas in Calabarzon.

“The expansion of lending to SMEs in the regions will contribute to national economic development and GDP growth given the products, services, and employment that these small businesses provide to Filipinos, especially those living in the province,” she said.

RCBC has increased its lending to small and medium businesses (SMEs) outside of Metro Manila.

Recently, the Yuchengco-led universal bank was named the Best SME Banking Brand in the Global Brands Magazine Awards 2021.

Tinio said the award underlines the bank’s commitment to bolstering assistance for SMEs in the face of the pandemic.

She said that to reach out to more SMEs in various areas of the nation, the universal bank is focusing on lending more to cooperatives, savings, and loan organizations.

Tinio added that supporting such business organizations would arm them with resources to further extend assistance to local micro and small businesses in the area, where banks have limited access.

Aside from loans, the bank provides support through other services such as payment and collection solutions through its digital platform.

For 2020, gross loans to customers increased by Php22.3 billion or 5.1% to Php456.6 billion, attributable in part to a moderate increase in SME accounts by 7.8% or Php5.7 billion.

The recent award recognizes the bank’s efforts in supporting the SME sector which include business process re-engineering initiatives that resulted in faster credit availments, the COVID Assistance, and Recovery program (CARE), and digital banking solutions that helped its clients adapt to the new normal.

The National Capital Region (NCR) accounts for the biggest share of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, or an estimated 20 percent of MSME establishments across regions.

Calabarzon and Central Luzon come in second and third place, accounting for about 15 percent and 12 percent of total MSMEs, respectively.