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LBC and Aboitiz firms agree to fund MSMEs

LBC Express, Inc., Aboitiz Data Innovation Pte. Ltd. and Union Bank of the Philippines signed a tripartite agreement that will give micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) access to small business financing.

“Through this partnership with ADI and UnionBank, we look forward to providing them with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to obtain funding to help advance their businesses,” LBC Chief Financial Officer Enrique V. Rey, Jr. said in a statement.

Under the agreement, ADI will provide LBC customers a scoring service powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which will then help UnionBank “intelligently” extend loans to identified clients.

Mr. Rey said that the company has seen a rise in the number of consumers engaging in “social selling” even before the pandemic and such small informal businesses are also a strategic focus for Aboitiz-led UnionBank.

“We are optimistic as we join the nation in its economic recovery following the pandemic, and we hope to contribute to this through lending, creating economic activity in digital channels, and assisting small entrepreneurs,” said Roberto F. Abastillas, executive vice president and commercial banking center head of UnionBank.

ADI said that owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in economic recovery through adapting to a shifting business environment, leveraging technology and putting focus on innovation and sustainability, which they can fund through the partnership.

“Through this partnership, SMEs and MSMEs are meant to thrive and not just survive in a post-pandemic world,” the company said. 

“Innovation and meaningful collaboration are essential for driving economic development and recovery. We look forward to working with LBC and UnionBank in harnessing the capabilities of data science and AI to create solutions that empower more entrepreneurs in the Philippines and beyond,” ADI Chief Operating Officer for Financial Services Guy Sheppard said.

Registered in Singapore, ADI is the data science and AI arm of the Aboitiz group. Among its partners are Shiptek Solutions Corp., Synfindo, and JERA Co., Inc. — Justine Irish DP. Tabile

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