January 17-20, 2011 Photo slideshow (on mouse click) Mobile Money Transfer Asia-Pacific Conference & Expo Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program
Having pioneered mobile phone banking and being noted as one of the world’s leaders in mobile money, the Philippines hosted the Mobile Money Transfer Asia Pacific Conference (MMT-APAC) on January 17-20 at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila. This is the second of Clarion Events’ MMT-APAC series, which started in December 2009. Gathering the world’s mobile money industry leaders, mobile network operators, financial institutions, regulators and m-commerce practitioners, the conference featured presentations on the latest trends, updates and developments in mobile money from all over the world. Highlighted was the mobile phone banking initiative of the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program.
RBAP-MABS is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported program jointly implemented by the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) and the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation (RBRDFI). Oversight of the program is provided by the Office of the President through the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo). It is one of the principal elements of USAID-Philippines’ efforts to accelerate economic growth through expanded participation of lower income groups in productive activities.
Highlighted during the event were the mobile phone banking and mobile money transfer experiences of the Philippine rural banks presented by Bangko Kabayan’s Ms. Fides Ganzon, Cantilan Bank’s Gen. Charles Hotchkiss (Ret.), and RBAP-MABS Chief of Party John Owens.
The panelists shared the challenges encountered in building the current mobile phone banking in the country, from the planning to the preparations, implementation and improvement. They also shared the learnings and strategies that they came up with in facing those challenges.
Mr. Raymond Estioko of the Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP), on the other hand, presented on the mobile phone banking and mobile money transfer regulatory environment in the country. According to him, with the country's over 7,000 islands, there is a need for alternative channels to communicate and transmit money and financial services. Thus, the BSP allowed for an enabling regulatory environment for mobile money in the Philippines.
The country's top mobile network operators and mobile money transfer service providers, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, also provided presentations on the Philippine telcos' experiences in mobile money and mobile phone banking.
Smart Communications co-founder and chief wireless advisor Orlando Vea shared Smart's experiences in bringing mobile phone banking to the base of the pyramid.
Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu presented Globe's various mobile money services and projects including the Rural Bank-GCASH ATM FaceCard, GCASH Remit, the use of GCASH to facilitate the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program as well as the launch of BanKO. BanKO President Tessie Tan also shared the new bank’s plans to use GCASH to provide banking services.
On the last day of the conference, the participants went on a site visit to the Ortigas branch of the Philippine Rural Banking Corporation (PR Bank), a MABS participating bank considered as one of the leading rural banks in the country and the most actively engaged in mobile phone banking via the GCASH platform.
The participants were provided with an orientation on GCASH and its partnership with the rural banks and the USAID-supported RBAP-MABS program.
The delegates then loaded their Globe SIM cards, registered to GCASH and performed cash-in at the bank and in GCASH Cash-in and Cash-out outlets. They visited GCASH merchants at the Greenhills Shopping Center, where they bought goods using their GCASH.
In the afternoon, Smart treated the delegates to an Amazing Race contest that allowed them to experience Smart Money at the SM Mall of Asia.
The delegates were divided into teams and guided in a race where they performed money transfer via person-to person, purchased goods using the Smart Money card, and performed money-in transactions and withdrawals from an ATM, also using the Smart Money card.