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An enterprising chicharon stall owner from Tarlac, who relied on informal lenders, takes a crack at expanding her business through BanKo, BPI’s microfinance arm, and is pleasantly surprised with the results.
Elizabeth “Laza” Arocena has been in business for most of her life, assisting her parents with their enterprise as a young girl. By the time Laza was married, she and her husband decided to put up their own chicharon business.
Laza recalls selling the couple’s bicycle to be able to jump-start their enterprise. They also had to share her mother’s small stall space inside the public market of Camiling, Tarlac to sell their chicharon products. Eventually, the couple got their own space.
It was business as usual until her stall and her items were featured by a morning show on national television, triggering a surge in orders and the need for additional capital to meet the spike in demand from newfound customers.
Laza turned to informal lenders who easily gave her the money she needed. However, there was a catch—payments had to be made every day and this restricted her cash flow.
One day, she learned of BanKo from fellow market vendors who were the bank’s clients. Laza expressed interest in getting a loan from BanKo and, not long after, a team from the bank’s Camiling branch visited her stall to explain how easy it is to secure a loan at affordable rates.
Laza was delighted by BanKo’s loan terms compared to those of informal lenders. “Once a week lang ang hulog, napapaikot ko pa ‘yung pera,” Laza says.
Laza welcomed this development since it gave her liquidity and leeway considering that sales are not always high.
On top of the payment terms, she favors BanKo’s loan terms over that of other banks.
“Malaki yung unang binigay sa akin ng BanKo. Natutuwa ako kasi walang collateral tsaka mura lang ang hulog. Kasi kung sa ibang bangko ‘yan, ang collateral, sabi nila titulo ng lupa or kuha ng sasakyan. Siyempre, ang hirap naman,” she says.
Since signing up, Laza has availed of four loans from BanKo.
The bank’s support for micro-entrepreneurs like Laza has made her even more motivated to offer her products to customers, including those in Metro Manila, where she gets 70 kilos of orders twice a month. She is considering putting up another branch in Tarlac City.
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Editor’s Note: This article was provided by BPI Direct BanKo.