Philippine FI BPI Globe BanKO Inc., the world's first mobile phone-based bank, expects to reach the million-client milestone in 2013. Demand for the micro-banking service is being driven largely by the country's poor and rural populations, said an article by the Business Enquirer.
BanKO was created by Bank of the Philippine Islands, mobile carrier Globe and holding company Ayala. The venture launched this January and has enrolled 200,000 customers to date, exceeding initial expectations.
To open a BanKO account the customer goes to an agent (these include convenience stores, gas stations and pharmacies, among others), registers his mobile number and makes an initial deposit to the new account. The customer later receives an ATM card.
BanKO customers can pay bills and remittances, and apply for micro-loans and insurance. Cash withdrawals and deposits can be made either by ATM or at an agent location.
"The business model adopted by BanKO is the way to reach out to people from the farthest areas of the country. Through BanKO's affordable banking services, Filipinos gain financial empowerment and an opportunity to build their savings," Teresita B. Tan, president of BanKO, said in a press conference on Thursday.
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