Unitus is pleased to announce that LifeBank Foundation has surpassed the 200,000-client milestone. Based in the Philippines, LifeBank has been a Unitus partner since 2006. Last year, the organization grew its client base by an impressive 105 percent, and anticipates 80 percent growth by the end of 2008.
LifeBank began as a rural bank in 1970 and ventured into microfinance in 1995. In 2001, they started microfinance operations and spun off LifeBank Foundation in 2003, with just 5,000 clients, to allow more rapid growth. The clients they serve are women, many of whom run their own sari-sari stores, which sell anything from small food items to school supplies and crafts. The organization is managed by founding brothers Manny Perlas, President, and Vincent Perlas, Senior Vice President. Manny brings more than 20 years of international development experience and Vincent is a medical doctor who made a career shift to focus on banking.
LifeBank was one of four microfinance institutions (MFIs) selected to receive grant funding for the Unitus Efficiency Project, a three-year Unitus endeavor supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. LifeBank employees have been working closely with Joe Silver, Unitus Efficiency Project Manager, and other Unitus staff on implementing different programs to improve the organization’s internal operations so they can meet their increasingly aggressive business goals. “LifeBank is clearly dedicated to meeting all of their milestones,” says Joe.
“They have the ability to see a need in a region, go there, and rapidly meet the needs of their clients. They are quickly addressing the demand for financial services in the Philippines.”
The next step for LifeBank Foundation is to continue to focus on growth. Many of the goals established through the Efficiency Project are dependent on updated technology, so LifeBank is in the process of working with Unitus to implement a new management information system in order to enhance operations and increase capacity.
“Vince and I have really been eyeing the 200K milestone for quite some time,” says Manny. “The bulk of the credit of course goes to our dedicated and hardworking staff. Also, many thanks to the Unitus team who have helped LifeBank reach this milestone as fast as we did!”
“And, of course, there’s 300K around the corner….”
Congratulations to LifeBank!