Citi and consumer finance provider Home Credit have launched a joint lending facility aimed at promoting greater financial inclusion in the Philippines.
The first tranche of the transaction, amounting to 420 million pesos (US$8 million), will support mobile device purchases, about half of which will go to women to allow them to buy basic digital devices such as smartphones and tablets.
With a basic digital connection and a basic digital device, users will be able to connect to the internet and access essential services such as online banking, financial literacy, productivity apps for running self-owned businesses, and online education, according to the two firms.
Borrowers can apply for a loan at Home Credit’s thousands of partner merchants where they can purchase their digital devices. They can also apply for a loan through Home Credit’s app. Women comprise around 50% of Home Credit’s total borrowers.
Citi says the social financing facility is part of its US$1 trillion commitment to sustainable finance by 2030. “Supporting basic digital infrastructure is a tenet of Citi’s approach to social financing in emerging economies,” says Citi Philippines chief executive officer Aftab Ahmed. “Through Citi’s first social finance facility, we would like to give more Filipinos access to financial services to grow their business, and in this way affirm our commitment to the country as we celebrate our 120th year in the Philippines.”
Jean Lafontaine, head of funding, M&A and investor relations, at Home Credit Group, adds: “This loan is another example of how we are working to deliver sustainable, responsible financial services and products in developing markets.”