Rural bank off to a winning year as it gains recognition from ABF Retail Banking Awards, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Cebuana Lhuillier Bank, Inc. (CLB), a part of the PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies, was recognized as Rural/Cooperative Bank of the Year – Philippines in the recently concluded 2021 Asian Banking and Finance (ABF) Retail Banking Awards. The ABF Retail Banking Awards honors outstanding banks that prove to be game-changers in the industry, especially in coping up with the New Normal.

The ABF Retail Banking Awards specifically cited CLB’s push for financial inclusion through the launch of the game-changing Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings product which made saving a possibility to majority of unserved and unbanked Filipinos. Since its launch in 2019 in partnership with micro financial services giant Cebuana Lhuillier who served as cash agent, micro savings has pushed for the financial empowerment of many Filipinos, regardless of their socio-economic status and location. Through this, Filipinos now have access to a simplified, secured, affordable and reliable banking service which remains a basic necessity especially this pandemic. Two years after its launch, Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings has now more than five million savings account holders.

“Financial inclusion has always been at the core of who we are at Cebuana Lhuillier, and this is reflected on the products and services that we offer the many communities we serve nationwide. The introduction of Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings highlighted the importance of accessibility in order to save money, and we made it possible through the many branches of Cebuana Lhuillier nationwide. This allowed many of our kababayans to start saving for their future, no matter how small the amount may be – ultimately taking their first step towards being financially included,” shared Jean Henri Lhuillier, President & CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier and Vice Chairman of Cebuana Lhuillier Bank.

Dennis Valdes, President of Cebuana Lhuillier Bank, adds “When Cebuana Lhuillier Bank was founded more than 20 years ago with its first location in Southern Luzon; we saw first-hand the need for accessibility to financial products and services especially in rural communities. Our micro savings product was our way of ensuring that every Filipino, especially if they live in rural communities or far-away locations, will still have access to a bank, and will still have the opportunity to save for their future. While the recognition we receive is a huge honor; it also encourages us at CLB to further push forward to bring more banking products that continue to be the right fit for every Filipino.”

CLB’s partnership with Cebuana Lhuillier as its cash agent partner extended the bank’s reach to more than 2,500 stores nationwide and 20,000 network partners both offline and in the digital space, providing accessibility to many Filipinos nationwide to save up.

The award-giving body recognized 140 exceptional banks from 31 countries, judged by different experts in Asia’s finance industry.

Due to its significant role in pushing for financial inclusion while actively supporting the government’s own program towards a more financially included Philippines, CLB was also recently recognized by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as one of its outstanding stakeholders for 2021. The award was presented during the BSP Stakeholders Appreciation Ceremony with this year’s theme of “Pagpugay at Pagkilala sa Gitna ng Hamon ng Pandemya”.

In support of BSP’s vision of financial inclusion for Filipinos, the CLB is making its extensive product line and services available from its branches to digital channels to reach more of their clients and widen their accessibility at the height of the pandemic.

Valdes adds that the recent citations and recognitions that they have received are just the beginning for the bank. Currently, CLB is pushing towards exploring the digital landscape to further promote their other products, which included a full roster of savings and loans products, towards their market. Part of their goal is to put in place a seamless omnichannel experience, combining the strengths of both its physical branches complimented with the latest innovations in tech.