Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pag-IBIG Fund members urged to voluntarily increase contributions

Pag-IBIG Fund president and CEO Darlene Marie Berberabe is encouraging Fund members to voluntarily increase their contributions as a way to build financial freedom.

“But we are urging our members to voluntarily increase their monthly savings considering that after 20 years they will be able to triple their money,” she said. A third of the contribution comes from the members themselves, another third from the employers and then from the dividends.

Pag-IBIG has paid a total of P9.3 Billion total dividends to its members last year and she said, these dividends are tax-free compared to banks which impose a 20% withholding tax.

Berberabe said they are constantly looking for innovative ways to be more relevant to their members without increasing their contributions. Our marching orders from the vice president were to improve the benefits for members without increasing the monthly cost, she said.

To do that, she said, they increased their membership base from 8 million to 12.7 million. Pag-IBIG has doubled the maximum loan amount to P3.6 million while reducing the calamity interest rates from 10.5% to 5.95% with monthly contribution still at P100.

The Home Development Mutual Fund, more popularly known as Pag-IBIG Fund is set to link up with at least 19 business partners per region every quarter in up to 32 key cities in the country to make the Fund more relevant to the daily lives of its members.

“How do we make Pag-IBIG Fund more relevant to those who are saving but are not yet ready to borrow money for housing” was one of their concerns according to Pag-IBIG Fund president and CEO Darlene Marie Berberabe Wednesday.

Berberabe, who was in the city Wednesday for the signing of the memorandum of agreement with its partners, said the Fund now has 12 million members with up to 60,000 members borrowing every year. But what about the rest, she said.

She said the Pag-IBIG Privilege Cardholders Program, which will be officially launched and piloted in the cities of Cebu, Davao and Baguio, was conceptualized to make the Fund more relevant to members.

Among the first partners of Pag-IBIG’s new program in Davao are New City Commercial Corporation, Davao Doctors College and Penong’s Franchise Corporation. These companies have offered different discounts levels to cardholders every time they purchase or make payments at the stores.

Pag-IBIG is still looking for partners and is yet to bid for the services of a company which will produce the Privilege Cards which will be made available to members for a minimal fee. Once issued hopefully before the year ends, users of the Privilege Card in various cities in the country can avail of the discounts provided by the partner companies.

“We are focusing on companies relating to health, education, groceries, schools and restaurants,” she said.

Ms. Berberabe said the target is to issue around 200,000 Pag-IBIG Privilege Cards once the program is official launched next year. She said they now have 32 partners in the pilot areas but are still looking for partners nationwide.

“I am sure we will get more partners because with Pag-IBIG’s 12 million members and the opportunity to get their stores marketed to these members, it is a good marketing strategy for these businesses,” she said.

Ace O. Cayonda, Penong’s Marketing head, said their restaurants cater to the lower A to C markets and since most of Pag-IBIG members are regular wage earners, they see the linkage as a good opportunity to promote their brand.

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