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Kaya is the Way to Go!

In the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, there are two buzz words: “Leave No One Behind!” and a new one, “Reaching the Farthest Behind First”.
 
I think of the indigenous peoples in the rural areas.  In my village in Bukidnon Province, they send money down and pay as much as P200 to P250.  That is already the allowance of a student!
 
But if they use the Kaya Payment Platform (KPP), if they send P1,000, they pay only one peso.
 
The P250 is only for the transportation.  The rural areas are the best places where the KPP can be used.
 
Let’s not generalize that there is no internet in rural areas.  My village 56 kilometers from town, there is connectivity.  Of course, there are still many areas without internet.  Your members can then go the Municipal Hall, connect to the internet, and begin to transact.  
Kaya is an acronym for “Kooperatibang May Asenso, Yaman at Abilidad" (Cooperative that is Dynamic, Rich and Capable).  In Visayan, it is Kooperatiba: Atong Yawi sa Pag-asenso (Co-operatives: Our Partner in Development).
 
KPP is a shared platform  with Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) and Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO). Our tech partners are Temenos and Software Group –  giants in the digital finance sector.  Why did we get them?  Because we need partners with good reputation.
 
At a recent meeting when Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas officials learned we partnered with Temenos and Software Group, the immediate question was: “How did you afford them?”
 
Recent visitors from Colombia asked the same question.
 
We can afford Temenos and Software Group because we are a network of 840 co-ops, plus PFCCO.
 
We have to work with ACCU and PFCCO just to make KPP possible and feasible.  And we really need to because if we will join the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) of the BSP, they will ignore us if we don’t have good partners.  
 
Temenos has created software for banking and finance for more than 25 years. 
 
41 of the top 50 banks, rely on Temenos to process daily transactions of 500 million banking customers.
 
Our second partner is Software Group based in Bulgaria, a global technology company that helps financial service providers digitize their business, extend their outreach and improve operational efficiency.  Software Group operates from 9 main offices around the world. 
 
Our partners are heavyweights!
 
With KPP, the dream of co-ops to serve members “Anytime, Anywhere” is realized.  And you can serve members “Anyhow” since transactions can be performed over-the-counter, thru mobile phones, and – very soon – thru ATMs and POS.  
 
We are now looking into using mobile to borrow money. You can borrow money anywhere, even on Facebook!
 
We should be scared that 66% of Filipinos intend to use mobile transactions.  They are ready.  Is your co-op ready?  If not, they will go somewhere else.  Once people get used to the convenience provided by a new technology, there is no turning back.
 
If people want digital transactions and we don’t have a ready infrastructure to meet their needs, you should be scared!  But there is nothing to fear because we offer Kaya Payment Platform!
 
The next phase is remittance.  Filipinos are the world number three remitters and co-ops should be relevant to remitters.
On Agency Banking, that means that outside of the co-ops  you can identify your merchants, and we will integrate it into our core banking system as well.
 
The BSP is very clear on its Financial Inclusion agenda.  BSP will soon abolish “dormancy” of savings accounts and there will be no more “maintaining balance” required.  Who’s going to get hit?  The BSP clearly wants the poor to have access to formal financial services from whoever will provide it.  And if the people can get it from banks . . .  where does that leave us?
The National Retail Payment System for digital, cashless, online transactions is not clear about the participation of co-ops, but we are lobbying for co-ops to be included in the BSP Financial Inclusion agenda.
 
This is scary.  But again, we are engaging the CDA and the BSP in the participation of co-ops in the NRPS.
 
Co-ops are sleeping giants.   We have almost 2,000 branches in our NATCCO Network.  If only we could be inter-connected, we would be a formidable force in the financial system.
 
This is all potential.  We have only started to tap or awaken that potential.  
 
Some say our members do not have smart phones.  These members can perform over-the-counter transactions initially.
In Cagayan de Oro City, you can pay your power, water,and cable bills using Kaya Payment Platform.  There is a convenience fee of P5.00 for each transaction.  Your co-op gets a commission of P1.50.  If you have 10,000 members . . . just do some arithmetic and you have an idea on the monthly revenue potential of the Kaya Payment Platform for your co-op.
 
There are currently 50 co-ops using the KPP.  
 
The BSP is dead serious about digital payments.  In their canteen, BSP employees’ purchases are cashless.  In NATCCO, employees’ communication allowances are given thru Kaya.
 
We facilitate biller enrollment with ECPay.  We met with the Association of Mindanao Electric Co-ops – CEPALCO in Cagayan de Oro, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur accept payments thru ECPay.  Surigao del Norte will eventually be in ECPay as well.  
 
It was said in 2015, three years ago:  “For the banks, it is fair to say that getting digital banking right is a do-or-die challenge.  It is high time for financial institutions to take their stance in the digital financial services ecosystem before others take theirs.”
 
 If you don’t do it, you will die!
 
We must really force the transition towards digital payments.  How will it be done?
 
At the end of the day, it is leadership. The technology is here, we just need leadership to take it to the next level.  
 
Our members pay bills – telephone, electricity, cable, loans to the co-op, government transactions, buy plane tickets, and even transfer funds to other e-moneys like GCash, PayMaya.  
 
You can even open e-money accounts using Facebook Messenger.  That is already your signature!  That is what our competition is already doing!
 
GCash and PayMaya are in the malls.  Pawnshop are also everywhere.
 
We are not there – not yet.  At the going rate, they will slowly get our members.  But we have the KPP waiting to be implemented in co-ops.
 
Co-ops should be the place where members can do all their payments.  We envision co-ops to be part of the members everyday lives.
NATCCO is enabling you do digitize what used to be over-the-counter cash transactions.  It will be very convenient for your members. 
 

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