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Citi and Habitat for Humanity Roll Out Home Improvement Microsavings Program in the Philippines

Residents of disaster-prone communities to receive training on personal finance and access to a special savings product


08_03_2012_Citi-1.jpgOne of the first participants of the savings program is Edwina Payapag (fourth from left), with husband Zaldy and daughter Arlene. She received visitors at her home including Shirish Apte (second from left), Citi co-chairman of Asia Pacific Banking and Citi Foundation board member, and Charlie Ayco (left), managing director and CEO, HFH Philippines. Photo: Citi Philippines.08_03_2012_Citi_Habitat-2.jpg
Edwina (second from left) and her friends discussing budgeting, saving and other financial topics. Photo: HFH Philippines.

Manila, August 3, 2012: Citi and Habitat for Humanity have rolled out the Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Microsavings Program in the Philippines, a regional initiative aimed at helping low-income homeowners strengthen their homes against natural disasters.

The program is part of Citi Foundation’s US$1 million commitment to partner with Habitat for Humanity for an innovative financial education initiative aimed at encouraging 3,000 low-income families to save money for home improvements, particularly to mitigate against natural disasters. Citi hopes the targeted families will collectively save US$2 million over three years.

The Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Microsavings program will also be offered in other Asian countries.

Shirish Apte, Citi co-chairman of Asia Pacific Banking and Citi Foundation board member, launched the program recently at the Senior Citizens Center of Barangay Sta Ana in Pateros.

He said: “This is a very important step towards increasing the resilience of people who live in disaster-prone areas. It reflects Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and to communities who are at risk of typhoons and floods. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Philippines and community partners and leaders, we hope to extend the program to other disaster-prone areas across the country.”

In the Philippines, low-income families in Pateros can join the pilot Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Microsavings program by attending training sessions with Habitat for Humanity and opening a special savings account called “FMB Habit” for as little as 200 pesos (US$4.50) with the First Macro Bank, Habitat for Humanity’s bank partner in Pateros.

This new financial product provides families with the incentive to reach their target savings amount for home improvement by offering an interest rate of 1percent as opposed to a rate of 0.75 percent offered for normal savings account.

Families who sign up for the program also receive other incentives such as technical advice on home improvements like replacing a roof or building a second story.