In celebration of the National Women’s Month, Credit Information Corporation (CIC)—the country’s public credit registry and repository of credit information—featured women entrepreneurs who successfully availed of business loans and other financial services from CIC’s accessing entities.

Accessing entities are financial institutions that are using the CIC Credit Report in assessing their borrowers’ creditworthiness.

In partnership with the University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation, Inc. (UPPAF) Regulatory Support Program for National Development (RESPOND), the CIC reached out to women owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of the webinar on “Ease of Doing Business: Helping Women Entrepreneurs Start and Sustain their Business” held on 12 March 2021.

CIC Senior Vice President for Business Development and Communications Atty. Aileen L. Amor-Bautista discussed the government credit registry efforts to provide women entrepreneurs with credit footprint and facilitate their access to credit.

Barriers to accessing credit

Atty. Amor-Bautista explained how a woman may be disadvantaged from the credit information perspective since they will most likely lack formal proof of revenue including pay slip or tax identification number (TIN).

In a video feature produced by CIC in partnership with UPPAF RESPOND, Gender Specialist Ms. Jeanne Frances Illo likewise argued that women entrepreneurs’ access to larger loans is hampered by several factors: “This includes their lack of property—whether real or personal—that they can use as collateral, and lack of proof of income and government-issued identification.”

The SVP then relayed how the CIC Credit Report helps both the lenders and the women entrepreneurs seeking credit to either start or sustain their business.

“While a Certificate of Employment serves as proof of ability to generate income, the CIC Credit Report is a proof of creditworthiness or the ability to pay financial obligations,” she continued.

As a webinar panelist, Atty. Amor-Bautista cited women entrepreneurs who were able to secure loans from CIC’s accessing entities without presenting collateral, attesting to the importance of the CIC Credit Report.

A client of a universal bank shared that she was able to expand her business through the credit line granted to her, and that she was not required to present any form of collateral.

Meanwhile, a financing company was able to grant a revolving credit facility to a woman business owner based in Cebu, and stated that the key factor for the approval was the client’s good credit history as assessed by their credit department.

As of date, a total of 102 banks, credit card companies, microfinance institutions (MFIs), and lending and financing companies are now accessing the CIC database.

Credit report and ease of doing business

During the panel discussion, Atty. Amor-Bautista also highlighted the CIC’s efforts to contribute to ease of doing business, especially in getting credit. This includes the Primary ID (PID) Number Tagging system which allowed even borrowers of MFIs, cooperatives, and rural banks—whose borrowers may not have the three primary IDs—to be loaded into the CIC database, expanding its coverage to almost 25 million borrowers.

“Given all these, the CIC gradually fills the information gap and levels the playing field between genders. If you have previous credit history, you can use these as proof that you are a trustworthy borrower and then build up your credit footprint as a woman entrepreneur,” the CIC SVP ended.

The webinar is the sixth in the W-GDP Webinar Series on Women’s Economic Empowerment organized by the UPPAF RESPOND, in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS), and the Women’s and Gender Studies Association of the Philippines (WSAP).

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Atty. Jeremiah Belgica and UP CWGS Director Dr. Nathalie Africa Verceles served as the main speakers, while the panel of discussants included Atty. Amor-Bautista, Ms. Margie Santos of the Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Department, and Ms. Angelita Gloria, a Quezon City-based entrepreneur.

Also present in the webinar moderated by Ms. Illo were USAID Manila OEDG Chief Jeffery Goebel who officially opened the program; UPPAF RESPOND Chief of Party Dr. Enrico Basilio; PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Yuzon-Chaves; and WSAP President Dr. Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu.