The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said penalties slapped on banks that missed the mandated credit for agriculture and agrarian reform borrowers surged to over P13 billion during an eight-year period.
“We’ve collected around P13.4 billion in agri-agra penalties from 2011-2018,” Lyn Javier, managing director of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Policy and Specialized Supervision Sub-Sector, told senators at the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform’s combined Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies public hearing on Thursday.
According to Javier’s presentation, 45 percent of the penalties were paid to the Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool, which provides guarantee coverage to banks, cooperatives, farmers/organizations, and enterprises funding small farmers and fisherfolk.
The same amount was also sent to the Philippine Crop Insurace Corp., which insures farmers’ palay(unmiled rice) and maize crops, among others, from natural calamities, plant diseases, and pest infestations.
Meanwhile, the BSP received 10 percent of the money, or P1.34 billion.
The Bangko Sentral penalizes banks that do not fully comply with Republic Act 10000, or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009, which mandates a 25 percent required credit to receivers.
The Agri-Agra law requires banks to allocate 15 percent and 10 percent of their total loan portfolio to farmers and agrarian reform recipients, respectively.
Bank loans to agriculture and agrarian reform declined by 2.76 percent at the end of last year, falling short of the minimum threshold.
The banking system has set aside P713.599 billion for the industry as of the end of 2020, down from P733.921 billion at the end of 2019.
Agriculture and agrarian reform received a combined allocation of 10 percent of total loanable funds, falling short of the mandated credit allocation of 25 percent.
Banks only lent 9 percent of total loanable funds to the agricultural industry. Meanwhile, they barely allocated 1 percent of their entire loanable funds to agrarian reform recipients.