Maybank partners microfinancer Kiva

Betty, who runs a fishing business in the Philippines, is one of the entrepreneurs who has benefited from fund-raising on Kiva.
Betty, who runs a fishing business in the Philippines, is one of the entrepreneurs who has benefited from fund-raising on Kiva.PHOTO: MAYBANK KIM ENG/KIVA

Tie-up lets the broker's clients help an entrepreneur of their choice

"BETTY" fishes for a living in Himamaylan in the Philippines, about 530km south-east of Manila on the island of Negros Occidental. She also knits and sells bags to supplement her family's income.

Her already-tough life became tougher when a typhoon several years ago destroyed all of her crab nets.

But thanks to a loan of US$625 (S$844) that she received with the help of Kiva, a crowdfunding non-profit organisation which works with microfinance institutions, the family has managed to buy new fishing equipment.

She said: "I'm so thankful my family is now on our feet again. My dream is to be able to continue to send my kids to school."

Entrepreneurs like her will now be getting an additional lift.

Maybank Kim Eng is collaborating with Kiva under a programme called Trade[&GIVE], which will see the broker set aside a percentage of its brokerage fees to allow its clients to contribute to an entrepreneur of their choice.

Maybank Kim Eng Singapore's chief executive Harmeet S. Bedi said: "Maybank Kim Eng has its roots in Asean and our success over the years can be attributed to our clients in the region. It is only right that we give back to Asean communities and lend a helping hand to the people around us."

The programme was launched earlier this year at Maybank's Invest Asean conference here.

San Francisco-based Kiva, which started in 2005, has facilitated more than US$715 million in loans to over 1.6 million borrowers in 86 countries. The funds disbursed have helped people to start and grow businesses, pay for education and build brighter futures for their families.

Kiva's more than 300 field partners identify those who need the funds and disburse them. The programme has a 98.7 per cent repayment rate, it said on its website.

One Singaporean who supports the programme is Mr C.B. Liew, a Maybank Kim Eng client since 2011. He is familiar with Kiva, having previously contributed US$25 to a Cambodian for use in an education project. "Turning an everyday activity like trading into one that helps others is something that I can get behind," he said. "I hope it will be a success."

reme@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'Maybank partners microfinancer Kiva'. Print Edition | Subscribe