State-run Land Bank of the Philippines on Thursday denied claims from some quarters that it had “failed in its mandate,” saying its substantial lending to small farmers and fishers nationwide is a proof of its sustained support to the agriculture sector.
LandBank said in a statement loans extended to the agriculture sector as of March 2023 increased 14.8 percent year-on-year to P271.8 billion. It said P42.3 billion of the amount directly benefitted small farmers and fishers nationwide.
The bank said it remained faithful to its social mandate of promoting inclusive and sustainable development, primarily by being the biggest credit provider to the agriculture sector reaching all components of the agriculture value chain.
The bank’s total agri loan portfolio has sustained its upward trajectory with an average growth rate of 10.4 percent from 2012 to 2022, even as the agriculture sector grew sideways by an average of 0.64 percent in the same period.
As the financial intermediary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the bank has inspected and valued 1.6 million hectares of private agricultural lands distributed by the Department of Agrarian Reform to 958,623 Agrarian Reform beneficiaries, with 90,995 landowners compensated amounting to P81.7 billion.
The bank has also extended P2.7 billion in loans to 2,356 individual Agrarian Reform beneficiaries and 469 ARB cooperatives and farmers’ associations nationwide.
The bank continues to build its strong financial muscle to support other key development sectors. In the first quarter, LandBank posted a net income of P10.8 billion, on the back of higher revenues and lower operating costs. Its assets and capital both expanded year-on-year, while financial ratios likewise remain at healthy levels.
“As the country’s largest GOCC, LandBank has the financial capacity and resources, and experience to support the national government’s development agenda. It is also supportive of strategic measures to promote greater operational efficiency, cost savings and stronger fiscal position to service the country’s development needs,” it said.
The bank has maintained its dominance as the biggest development partner of the local government units towards local development, with all 1,717 LGUs nationwide maintaining deposit accounts with the state-run bank. As of March 2023, the bank’s outstanding loans to LGUs nationwide reached P94.5 billion.
Majority of national government agencies and other government-owned and controlled corporations also have LandBank as their major depository bank, which also services their collection and disbursement requirements through the On-line National Collection System.
The bank is the only lender present in all 82 provinces of the country, providing accessible products and services, including to underserved and remote communities.
LandBank has 607 branches and branch-lite units, 58 lending centers, 2,906 ATMs, 224 CDMs and 1,751 agent banking partners.