Interview with ENCASH Marketing Director Margarita Estebanlar

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Question & Answer with Electronic Network Cash Tellers, Inc.’s (ENCASH) Marketing Director, Margarita Estebanlar.

1. How was ENCASH started?
ENCASH was incorporated in 2004 and began its operations in December 2007. ENCASH was founded by a group of individuals with previous experience as ATM suppliers. These individuals went into ATM deployment when it was realized that there was a dearth of ATM machines compared to the number of ATM cardholders in the Philippines.

An ENCASH ATM may be found conveniently located in over 306 partner rural banks, cooperatives, tourist destinations, town halls, and other partner entities. ENCASH ATMs are found in more than 50 provinces all over the country.

ENCASH does not sell nor lease ATMs. Except for some ATMs owned by a few rural banks, all ENCASH ATMs are company-owned. This is one of the reasons why partnering with ENCASH is a viable proposition. Unnecessary expenditures are eliminated with this particular business model.

Through a fee-sharing scheme with the rural banks, cooperatives or Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs), ENCASH earns by charging a Convenience Fee for every successful withdrawal. The Convenience Fee is loosely-based on the distance of the nearest ATM and the cost of transportation to get there.

2. Where is the company based?
ENCASH is based in Makati City, Philippines. Our office is located on the 4th floor of Citibank Center, Citibank Plaza, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City, Philippines.

We are able to deploy ATMs by sending our Sales Team to the rural areas to survey possible sites and talk to the heads of rural banks, cooperatives, and MFIs. To reach these possible sites, our Sales Team, just as the communities we serve, may take a variety of transportation, like an airplane, a tricycle (similar to a Thai Tuktuk) or a habal-habal (a motorcycle modified to accommodate many passengers with the use of a plank placed crosswise), a jeepney, a bus, a boat or a combination of all these.

3. What would you say are ENCASH’s main goals and how are they accomplished?
ENCASH enables financial inclusion to the underserved Filipinos who live in the rural areas. By deploying ATMs in cooperation with rural banks, cooperatives and MFIs located in rural areas that are not served by commercial banks, we help people access their funds faster, easier, in a convenient and secure manner.

ENCASH does not just serve the “safe” areas of the Philippines. From the very start, we stood by our promise to be of service to Filipinos, not just reaching out to indigenous Filipinos in the remote areas, but also to the conflict areas of Muslim Mindanao such as Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Zamboanga where we serve both our Muslim and Christian brothers.

4. What does ENCASH stand for and what does it do?
Electronic Network Cash Tellers, Inc. (ENCASH) is the first independent ATM deployer (IAD) in the Philippines. Based in Makati, ENCASH provides ATM services to rural banks, cooperatives, and MFIs. Its products enable partner financial institutions to provide commercial bank-grade ATM services to the countryside. Cardholders residing in rural areas benefit greatly from this service because ENCASH provides access to their finances via the ATM.

5. Who are you helping with this service?
We serve all cardholders from the three major consortia–MegaLink, BancNet, and ExpressNet–and soon will serve international cardholders, too.

Among those who use our ATMs are public school teachers, government employees, recipients of the Philippine government’s poverty alleviation program known as the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), recipients of remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), soldiers, students, small entrepreneurs, etc.

The ENCASH ATMs also serve to encourage the unbanked to open their own ATM accounts.

As more money circulates within the rural areas where our ENCASH ATMs are deployed, business is also stimulated. In one of our partner rural banks in Sorsogon, a very entrepreneurial lady named Analyn Sayson decided to expand her informal remittance business. By a stroke of luck, she won in ENCASH’s Pangkabuhayan Promo (ENCASH Livelihood Promo) and she was able to further boost her capital for her remittance business.

6. Give some examples of people you have helped, including statistics, if available.
We have served over two million unique cardholders in the Philippines since 2010. Below is a breakdown:

ENCASH
We have many anecdotes coming from our partner rural banks, cooperatives and MFIs, were both partners and cardholders have expressed thankfulness for our ATMs. Some of the quotes below also came from interviewees during our Focus Group Discussion last April 2013. Below are some samples:

One of our clients told me that every month he rents a van so that he and his wife could get their pension in Olongapo. It would cost him P2,000.00 for the rental of van and another P500.00 for the snacks. Since they are old and weak, traveling became so painful for them. He also found the long lines at the ATM in Olongapo to be stressful, too; that’s why when he and his wife learned that there is an ENCASH ATM in Unity Bank already, they were very thankful. Their expenses were cut down  to P50.00 ( only 2 percent of their usual expenses).”

– Kristine A. Lavarias
Branch Head
Unity Bank, San Narciso Branch

“When my daughter brought up the subject of installing an ATM in the Rural Bank of Pilar, I told her to take responsibility for it since I was hesitant about having one. When it was finally deployed, I thought that our clients would just be the weekend users. I did not realize that we would have a market for it in our town. I was mistaken, and people in the neighboring town also come here to transact.”

– Orlando Roces
Chairman
Rural Bank of Pilar (Sorsogon), Inc.

An ATM user, who was not a branch client, came up to me to thank me personally for the ATM. He needed money urgently because a member of his family was going to be admitted to the hospital for an emergency procedure. Without the ATM, he would have to travel very far in order to procure money.”

– Dennis Locsin
President
Janiuay Rural Bank, Inc.

– Samantha Davis

Sources: ENCASH
Photo: Incofin

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