Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), the financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), was assigned an Issuer Credit Rating of PRS A minus (corp.) by the Philippine Rating Services Corporation (PhilRatings). The assigned rating has a Stable Outlook.

SBCorp is the government financial institution (GFI) tasked by Republic Act (RA) 9501 to implement various programs that would assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in all areas, including finance and information services, training and marketing.

A company rated PRS A (corp.) is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than higher-rated corporates. Still, the obligor has an above average capacity to meet its financial commitments relative to that of other Philippine corporates. The “minus” further qualifies the assigned “A” rating.

A Stable Outlook, on other hand, is assigned when a rating is likely to be maintained or to remain unchanged in the next 12 months.

In assigning the rating, PhilRatings took into account the following major considerations: (1) SBCorp management’s solid experience in and deep understanding of the MSME sector; (2) expectations of strong government support, at least in the short-term, given the agency’s significant role in government efforts to assist pandemic-stricken MSMEs; and (3) SBCorp’s weak profitability.

PhilRatings’ ratings are based on available information and projections at the time that the rating review was performed. PhilRatings shall continuously monitor developments relating to SBCorp and may change the rating at any time, should circumstances warrant a change.

SBCorp has long played a significant role in government efforts to strengthen and grow the MSME sector in the country. SBCorp is under the policy and administrative supervision of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council. The management of SBCorp consists of officers who are seen to have deep familiarity and solid background on the MSME sector, given their long tenure with the company. Management’s solid experience has allowed SBCorp to effectively carry out its day-to-day operations, notwithstanding changes in its Board leadership and composition. Led by its highly experienced management, SBCorp’s vision is to be the leader in building financing alternatives for the country’s MSMEs by 2025. This vision encompasses seven target MSME segments: a) micro and small agri and aqua enterprises; b) micro retailers; c) small island economies; d) MSMEs requiring rehabilitation from disaster; e) Islamic MSMEs; f) indigenous people (IP)-owned enterprises; and g) first-time small businesses.

The quarantine measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 has greatly impacted the MSME sector. According to the DTI, 52.66% of the country’s MSMEs stopped or closed their operations due to the pandemic while 12.55% had limited operations. As the financing arm of the DTI, SBCorp is seen to play a significant role in the government’s aggressive efforts to help these pandemic-stricken Page 2 of 2 MSMEs. As of report writing date, SBCorp has taken the following actions to assist its clients: a) moratorium on loan payments during the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), starting 17 March 2020; and b) development of new products to aid enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strong relevance of SBCorp’s mandate in government plans for the recovery of the MSME sector creates expectations that government support provided to the agency will remain, at least during the term of the current administration.

PhilRatings noted the downtrend in SBCorp’s income from its core operations over the recent years. In 2018, operating income declined by 6.8% to P17.6 million, as minimal growth in core revenues was offset by double digit growth in expenses. While loan releases increased in 2018, average interest spread for microfinance and wholesale loans dipped, as SBCorp adopted a policy rate of only 2% per annum (p.a.) for its conduits under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) Program as part of government efforts to help reduce the financing cost of micro enterprises. This resulted in an almost flat growth in interest income. Personnel services expenses, on the other hand, went up by 19.8% to P180.5 million, given the adoption of the third tranche of the Modified Salary System (MSS) as approved by the Government Commission for GOCCs (GCG).

In 2019, income from core operations further dropped by 36.1% to P11.3 million. Revenues increased by 11.5% to P371.6 million. Expenses, however, grew by 14.2% to P360.4 million. Such was driven by hikes in personnel services expenses, as SBCorp implemented the fourth tranche of the MSS, and in maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). MOOE increased given the insufficient mobilization fund provided for by the government subsidy for the P3 Program, thus resulting in a total of P21.5 million being shouldered by SBCorp out of its corporate earnings.

SBCorp ended the first half of 2020 (1H2020) with a net loss of P37.9 million, translating to a return on assets (ROA) of -0.5%. PhilRatings noted that operating cost alone (P131.3 million) – which accounted for 85.0% of total operating expenses – exceeded operating revenue (P114.3 million). The net loss experienced for the first half of the year reflected the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SBCorp’s operations. Operational adjustments are constantly being undertaken by the management to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic.

On a positive note, net income inclusive of government subsidy had been on an uptrend, increasing to P988.9 million in 2018 and to P1.3 billion in 2019. In 1H2020, net income inclusive of subsidy amounted to P875.1 million. Net subsidy from the national government reached P933.4 million in 2018, P1.2 billion in 2019 and P964.9 million in 1H2020. This is indicative of the government’s strong financial support to SBCorp.

 

The Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) was recognized as the 5th Top Performing Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC) in the 2019 Corporate Governance Scorecard (CGS) by the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GCG). The recognition affirms SBCorp’s continued adherence to best practice in corporate governance, having previously placed 7th in the 2018 CGS.

The improved ranking provides confidence to SBCorp’s stakeholders as the organization delivers transparent, accountable, and customer-focused service to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Further, SBCorp strives to maintain sound corporate governance, consistent with the belief that it advances the organization’s mission, fundamental goals, and social outcome objectives and puts MSMEs at the forefront of inclusive economic growth.

As a key pillar of the country’s economy, MSMEs contribute 35.7% to GDP, employ 62.5% of the labor force, and constitute 99.5% of all business establishments. Given this central role, the Philippine government – through the Department of Trade and Industry and SBCorp – supports the financing needs of MSMEs through special financing facilities such as the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) Program and, recently, the Bayanihan CARES Program. Bayanihan CARES is a PhP10.0 billion stimulus financing program specifically developed to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic on MSMEs.

The GCG in partnership with the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) established the CGS to raise the corporate governance standards and practices of GOCCs to be at par with ASEAN state-owned enterprises. It was developed using a methodology benchmarked against the Principles of Corporate Governance of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard.

The CGS aligns with the Performance Evaluation System for GOCCs and improves the transparency of GOCCs’ corporate governance initiatives and practices. It likewise aids GCG in identifying and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of GOCCs against existing corporate governance provisions, including level of adherence to best practice and international standards of corporate governance.

The full 2019 Corporate Governance Scorecard Assessment results have been released and posted on the GCG website and may be accessed through this link: https://gcg.gov.ph/files/o5iWe52DUqfQO8T9t9Ec.pdf

It was one of those rare afternoons when I was so ready to call it a day. I just conducted three webinars in a row and I was not in a really good shape to talk to someone so prominent and illustrious as her. I was so flustered as I dialed the number so I kept on praying that I don’t embarrass myself and stutter all the way through the interview.

The lady at the other end of the line greeted me so fondly and suddenly it felt like my day was  about to get better.

“Call me on my landline dear, this will be long,” was the first thing she said to me.  I was surprised. I was expecting to be given  a few minutes of her time  and be instructed to email her the questions. She texted me her landline and I called her immediately.

“ Don’t you worry. Its no bother. I love talking to people about my experience,” she quipped.

Dr. Vivian S.  Sarabia belongs to  “The Sarabia” family  who founded the first optical shop   in the Philippines 114 years ago. She is one of more than 30 family members of the illustrious Sarabia clan who are optometrists and ophthalmologist all practicing in the Philippines.

Pre-pandemic, Dr. Sarabia owns a retail store bearing the Sarabia name in one of the posh malls in the city and was optical provider to BPOs,  major corporations and was known as the eye doctor of the stars. Business was bliss and the future bright.\

“When community quarantine was imposed, it felt like someone pushed a pause button and the world was on stand still. All of a sudden, we have to close and remained closed indefinitely. All of a sudden, I have bills, rent and salaries to pay, checks to fund and no income in sight. The first thought on my mind was how do I survive this for my people,” she  related.

Dr. Sarabia  remained undaunted. Instead, she explored ways to keep all her  20 employees on the payroll even though the store was closed.

“ The most important task was to assure my people many of whom have been with me  for so long that they will have food on their tables and what I have they will have too,”she said.

On the first month of the lockdown, Dr. Sarabia allowed all her employees to monetize their leave credits. The next month, she released their 13 month pay while helping them apply for every  government benefit available to them.

She made sure that every month they got something. But as  the lockdown extended , Dr. Sarabia started running out of options and means to keep her employees. Tapping into her personal savings, she  made sure to pay them P1,000.00 every week so that they will have money to at least buy food for themselves and their families.

“When I hired them they have become my family and their families my extended family. I keep telling them na malalampasan natin ito ng magkakasama. Basta magbibigayan lang tayo,” she added.

Donned in personal protective equipments (PPES), Dr. Sarabia accompanied her staff around and offered personal home consultations to friends and their families. It wasn’t much but at that time it was enough to pay her workers a minimum salary.

“Their salaries were cut to a minimum but they did not complain. They were better off compared to some, they used to say. But I believe that in their own little way they were also mindful of my financial situation, “ Dr. Sarabia recalled.

Come June, Dr Sarabia’s fear became imminent. There was nothing left. It was also  during this time that the  malls started coaxing her back and asking her to reopen her mall outlet.

“ I have nothing left. How am I going to pay rent? It was time to make tough decisions. So I took a leap of faith.  With all the courage that was left in me I decided to close the mall outlet and started building a new outlet from the ground up. I didn’t have much, I cannot even afford a contractor to build the new store so I did it myself,” she said proudly.

Dr. Sarabia heard about the Bayanihan CARES Program of the Small Business Corporation of the DTI and immediately took a chance.

“I have never borrowed. I never had a reason to loan for my business. Not until now.  Most of the people I know who have businesses chose to take the easy way out and closed down. I could have done that myself. Just stop the bleeding and turn my back to it all. But my conscience cannot take it. I cannot live thinking there are people I will be letting down,” she explained.

With her Bayanihan CARES loan she was able to take care of all her financial responsibilities so she could restart with a clean slate.

“ If there was one advice I can give business owners during this trying times, it is to accept our realities.  There is nothing wrong with admitting that we need help. Sometimes the easy way out is not the best way. We need to find a way to remain open for our people. They are our responsibility,” Dr. Sarabia adviced.

Notwithstanding the pandemic, Dr. Sarabia opened her new store in a new strategic site last August.

“My bank asked me why borrow from SB Corp and not from them? I asked them why can’t you lend like SB Corp if you really want to help me? With the one year grace period SB Corp has allowed me to breathe. That is what I’m most grateful for.  Thank you for allowing me to breathe.”

We talked a bit more about life and everything in between. I didn’t want to let her go. I wanted to keep on talking to her but I realized that we were talking for more than an hour and I already took too much of her time. 

In parting she shared with me her most important takeaway from all these experiences.

“Adversity often presents opportunities we shouldn’t miss. Hard times present us with a chance to change course, reinvent ourselves or even find an undiscovered bridge that might get us out of this ordeal.”

After I put down the phone, I realized that I no longer want the day to end. Not yet. Pondering and trying to make sense of all the thoughts running through mind, I realized I also had a   major takeway from the interview. Work is oftentimes hard. The pressure sometimes knocks the wind out of our sails. We may not be able to change the direction of the wind but we can always adjust our sails.

Later that night Dr. Sarabia sent me a message on my personal account. It said…“ One day you will tell your story and how you were able to overcome what you’re going through.  It will become someone else’s survival guide. You are going to be their hope. So don’t lose yours.”

It was the perfect ending to my day.

By Eloisa Pamatmat ,Communication Officer of the Small Business Corporation.

 

 

With the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Republic Act 11494 signed into law, a P10 billion fund has been allotted to the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) to expand its COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program.

Also to be made available under this fund is the CARES for Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization  of Enterprises and Livelihood (CARES for TRAVEL) Program which is allotted P6 billion out of the total fund.

SBCorp will start accepting applications for the Bayanihan CARES Program on October 26, 2020 to help MSMEs recover and ensure that workers keep their jobs.

Based on the guidelines, MSMEs with BIR-filed financial statements for 2018 or 2019 with no major negative credit track record are assured of a loan under the program.

MSME applicants who cannot submit a BIR-filed FS will just submit their barangay or municipal business permits,  photos or videos of business assets, and proof of sales for certain loan sizes.

Loan amount  to be granted will be based on the MSME applicant’s asset size and annual sales. However, additional limits to the loan size will be observed to ensure more MSMEs will benefit from the program.

Loans will have a one-time front-end service fee ranging from  4% to 8% depending on the number of years the applicant will pay.

Loan term can be up to four years and grace period up to six months. Certain industries such as tourism can be granted a longer grace period of up to 12 months.

Bayanihan CARES applications may be submitted through the SB Corp’s  online loan application system at https://brs.sbgfc.org.ph starting Monday, October 26, 2020.

For more information please visit the SBCorp Website at www.sbgfc.org.ph or call 8651-3333.

 

 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Monday to finalize the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) for Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood (TRAVEL) program that will extend loan assistance to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the tourism industry.

Signed by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and SB Corp’s President and Chief Executive Officer Ma. Luna E. Cacanado, and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, the MOA seeks to disburse P6 billion worth of loans to tourism MSMEs, using the budget allocated to the SB Corp’s CARES program under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), which directed the agency to expand its loan programs including that for tourism and “to administer loans for DOT but subject to guidelines from the DOT.”

The tourism chief said the program will accelerate the country’s tourism recovery from the harsh impacts of the pandemic.

Through the DOT and SB Corp’s CARES for TRAVEL program, tourism MSMEs will have access to zero interest, no-collateral loans with a loan term period of up to four years, including a corresponding grace period of up to one year. The borrower MSMEs will only need to pay a one-time service fee, which is set at a maximum of eight percent for a 4-year loan.  

SB Corp will evaluate and process all loan applications of DOT-accredited MSMEs and local government (LGU)-accredited small-scale tourism-oriented enterprises to ensure their eligibility and will determine the loanable amount and terms in accordance with the CARES for TRAVEL program guidelines.

On the DOT’s part, it will regularly endorse to SB Corp a list of DOT-accredited tourism enterprises and LGU-accredited small-scale tourism-oriented enterprises that may be entitled to avail of business loans under the CARES for TRAVEL Program, subject to further evaluation by SB Corp.

MANILA BULLETIN

Small Business Corporation is ready to reopen its Covid 19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES ) Program online Borrower Registration System (BRS) on August 17, 2020.  Online loan applications received prior to this date are already on the final stages of processing, maintaining a queueing of first come first serve basis.

 

Tagged as CARES 2 to distinguish it from the initial run of the Program,  this upcoming CARES window will require all applicants to apply through SBCorp's online BRS found in this link  https://brs.sbgfc.org.ph . Manual applications  will no longer be accepted. 

 

The loan features of CARES 2 is the same as CARES 1 including loan limit, zero interest rate, service fee, grace period and repayment term.  The same identification and business registration documents are required.

 

However, for ease of loan release as well as to reduce physical contact and minimize community transmission of Covid-19, loan applicants under CARES 2 requesting loans more than P 30.0 thousand are required to have a bank account where SBCorp will deposit the loan release proceeds.  The bank account should either be Land Bank of the Philippines or any PESONet or InstaPay participating banks. 

 

For loan applications P30.0 thousand and below, electronic money accounts (EMA) such as GCash and PayMaya may substitute the bank account requirement.

 

The bank/EMA account must be under the name of the loan applicant.  Loan applicants will not be able to proceed with their online application without their bank/EMA account details.  Moreover, SBCorp will not allow a change in  bank/EMA account details during the loan release phase, relative to what is indicated in the online loan application.   

 

Loan applicants in CARES 2 will also be  required to submit the following during the online application:

 

• Three photos  of the enterprise’s operations and fixed assets, inclusive of business signage.  Image file size should be limited to less that 2 MB; and

 

• A 1 to 3 minutes video on the business’ operations, with the loan applicant explaining the enterprise’ products and services, buyers and suppliers, level of sales and number of employees.  For ease of uploading, the video may be cut into one minute sections.

A sub-system within the online BRS shall be provided for MSEs that are able to submit these SSS and BIR-filed documents. Those without these papers shall be evaluated via the main BRS channel.

In case the  loan applicant has an outstanding negative credit track record with any financial institution (FI) prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, an approved payment arrangement with subject FI should be first secured.  Otherwise, the loan application will be automatically denied.

 

Loan processing of applications of formally registered MSEs who are able to submit the following documents shall be completed in a few working days upon documents verification:

 

a.  SSS registration of employees in 2019, to serve as basis for number of employees prior to the Covid-19 pandemic; and

 

b.  BIR-filed financial statements for 2019, to serve as basis for volume of annual sales.  The subject financial report should indicate a positive net income.

 

Finally, loan applicants must ensure  the correct encoding of their first, middle and last names.  The name on the application must be the exact same name on the borrower’s government issued ID and supporting documents. Otherwise, the loan application shall be rejected.  The loan applicant will have to submit a new online application.

 

SBCorp is committed to deliver the much needed assistance of our MSEs as fast as we can while making sure that the barest minimum standards of our lending guidelines are observed and complied with.  This is the reason why we have further streamlined our processes towards this end.

 

For additional information, please contact the P3 Hotline at 8651-3333 for NCR and our toll free hotline 1800 10 651 3333 for those outside Metro Manila.

The Small Business Corporation (SB Corporation) has launched a P100 million loan facility for repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The program tagged as Helping the Economy Recover thru OFW Enterprise Start-ups (HEROES), is a component program of the  Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) fund under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This loan facility is aimed at helping repatriated OFWs rebuild their lives by providing opportunity  to become entrepreneurs.

Under the HEROES Program, returning OFWs who were retrenched due to the COVID-19 pandemic must present a video pitch of his/her  start-up business proposal outlining key components on the nature of business, product knowledge, management capability, market opportunity, competitive advantage, financial understanding and business continuity.

Loan proceeds should  strictly be used for working capital to start and sustain the business operations. The loan may be used for the  acquisition, production and sale of products and required inventory, necessary equipment and machinery for the business, payment of initial worth of operating costs incurred such as payroll, rent, utilities and fixed asset loans.

Under the program, OFWs may borrow a minimum of P10,000 to maximum of P100,000 free of interest and collateral. A service fee of 6% will be charged to loans with 24 months payment term and 8%  for loans with 36 months payment terms (inclusive of 12 months grace period).

The application process will start with the pre-registration for the on-line training with the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC)

After the training, qualified applicants will be given instructions on how to submit their loan applications with the following requirements:

Accomplished Loan Application Form

  • One (1) Government-issued ID with photo
  • OWWA Certification or proof of being a repatriated OFW
  • AVP of Business Plan
  • DTI Registration
  • Certificate of completion of an on-line training session for start-ups conducted by PTTC

 

Small Business Corporation (SB Corporation), a GOCC, warns the public on fraudulent practices that illegally cite or use the name and official logo of the Corporation, that upload misleading information on its management and governance bodies, and that misrepresent its lending policy, guidelines and processes for undue material gain.

Under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or P3 Program and under the other lending facilities offered by it, SB Corporation does not require nor allow representation of the loan applicant by brokers/advisors/consultants during the credit evaluation process.  Under its lending facilities via conduit financial institutions, the official list of accredited partners is published by SB Corporation.  

SB Corporation is administratively attached to the Department of Trade and Industry.  Representing DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez in the SB Corporation Governing Board is Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona who serves as Acting Chairman of the Corporation.  The President/CEO of SBCorporation is Ms. Ma. Luna E. Cacanando. 

Please report any irregularity to the P3 Hotline +632 8651-3333 or directly to SB Corporation thru sbcorporation@sbgfc.org.ph.

 

The Small Business Corporation (SB Corporation) was among the 2019 achievers in the Corporate Governance Scorecard (CGS) of all Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), tallying an assessment score of 93.0 for its 2018 operations and securing the  7th spot out of 82 GOCCs assessed, a big leap from  its 2016 score of 58.50 and placing number 39 in the ranking.

The CGS of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) aims to annually assess the Corporate Governance performance of GOCCs and recognize well-governed GOCCs. The CGS assesses each GOCC’s governance policies and practices on Stakeholder Relationships (15%), Disclosure and Transparency (35%), and Responsibilities of the Board (50%).

The CGS helps the Governance Commission and GOCCs identify and assess the latter’s strengths and weaknesses compared to existing corporate governance provisions, and level of adherence to best practices and international standards of corporate governance. The CGS also works with the Performance Scorecard of GOCCs as it ensures improvement of transparency of GOCCs’ corporate governance initiatives and practices.

Under GCG Memorandum Circular No. 2015-07 instituted in October 2015, the Corporate Governance Scorecard for GOCCs was developed using a methodology benchmarked against the Principles of Corporate Governance of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard. The GCG in partnership with the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) established the CGS to raise the Corporate Governance standards and practices of GOCCs to be at par with the ASEAN state-owned enterprises.

CGS Scores of GOCCs for CY 2017

CGS Scores of GOCCs for CY 2018

The Small Business Corporation (SB Corporation) partnered with  three loan collection firms to aid the government lending agency in collection/recovery of accounts receivable payments from SB Corp micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) borrowers in the Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) area, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (CALABARZON) Region, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (MIMAROPA) Region, and Bicol Region. To ensure efficient and seamless collection of payments from MSME borrowers SB Corp tapped the services of Receivers and Liquidators, Inc., Anchor Collection Services, and Alexis A. Molaer Law Offices.

“We welcome the partnerships and we thank our new partners for joining us and helping us in our loan collection activities. We hope that this relationship will be  beneficial for all parties and will last for many years,” SBCorp President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando said.

In photo are (from L-R): Receivers and Liquidators Vice President & COO Susima Yngson, SBCorp President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando, Anchor Collection Services President and General Manager Imelda Ebora and Alexis A. Molaer Law Offices General Manager Jonathan Molaer.