BANK OF the Philippines Islands subsidiary BPI Direct BanKo Inc. is targeting a loan portfolio of 600 accounts in the city by next year from 490 as of end-October. The microfinance bank, in an e-mail to BusinessWorld, said the target is part of their 1,000-client goal in the next five years. Nationwide, BPI BanKo is set to end the year with 91,000 clients and P7 billion in loans. “Davao City has nine BanKo branches and will soon have more to serve other areas,” the bank said. “As for growth areas, it is mostly market vendors,” it added, noting that this segment is part of its focus market consisting of the self-employed and micro-preneurs (SEMEs). In the city, the average loan is about P35,000 with an interest rate of 2-2.3% per month. BPI BanKo has “Mares and Pares” who directly approach prospective borrowers. Rodolfo K. Mabiasen Jr., bank enterprise loan and branch network head, said Bankerohan, Davao City’s biggest wholesale and retail market for agricultural commodities, was part of their caravan for reaching out to potential clients. He said the bank “has tailored its products and services to meet the needs and capabilities of SEMEs” while making access to “loans easier.” — Carmelito Q. Francisco