BANK OF THE Philippine Islands (BPI) has tied up with the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) to support the agency’s financing initiatives for small businesses.

BPI is offering a financing program called Off-The-Shelf, which small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) can tap to get additional working capital for business expansion and other operational needs.

“In cooperation with the DoST, we can support the working capital requirements of SMEs, while they use the DoST loan to upgrade their technology. Combining these two financing programs will really help SMEs digitalize their business and adapt to the new normal,” said Eric Robert M. Luchangco, head of BPI Business Banking.

Business owners can get a collateral-free loan worth P300,000 to P1 million under the Off-The-Shelf program.

BPI said the scheme also has a faster turnaround and minimal documentary requirements compared with other financing schemes.

Mr. Luchangco said the financing program could help boost the competitiveness of businesses’ operations under the new normal.

The Off-The-Shelf loan scheme is expected to complement the DoST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

The DoST said they hope SETUP can help businesses boost their operations.

“It is our job to offer solutions for SMEs during this time of the pandemic. Through SETUP, we can offer them financial and technological assistance as their businesses recover,” DoST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho A. Mabborang said.

Last year, BPI said it is setting up an online platform where small businesses can perform digital banking services as well as nonbank solutions that will help them transition to online selling.

In 2020, the lender also raised P21.5 billion through its offer of coronavirus disease 2019 response bonds that were used for lending to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises during the pandemic.

BPI’s net income rose by 3% year on year to P5.657 billion in the third quarter of 2021 amid lower credit provisions, which offset the decline in its interest earnings.

Its nine-month net profit inched up by 1.8% year on year to P17.5 billion.

BPI shares went down by 20 centavos or 0.21% to close at P94.70 apiece on Monday. — LWTN