With 10 million Filipinos struggling every day to survive, how does one begin to improve one’s life?
Josephine “Joy” Laureles and her husband, Noel, once lived their life flat broke. From 2004 to 2009, they fought for their family’s survival, worrying how to feed and send their children to school. They had no money. What they had was willpower.
Joy and Noel would wake up hours before the break of dawn to buy fresh pork from a slaughterhouse and sell the goods. Every day, they would need at least one mature pig worth P7,000 for their small stall in a nearby talipapa. Despite the poor circumstances, they had their share of loyal restaurant patrons. To help make ends meet, they also put up a sari-sari store.
For the two businesses, the couple had to borrow P50,000 from several money lenders. In times of desperation, Joy and Noel resorted to “Bombay five-six,” an informal finance loaning scheme that charged staggering interest rates.
A life-changing opportunity
By 2009, their luck started to change. Oscar Almendral, a former Field Credit Assistant from Robinsons Bank Microfinance Group Naga, approached Joy while she was curing pork tocino in her talipapa stall. He talked to Joy about the “Super Loan ng Bayan,” one of the bank’s offerings that did not require any collateral. Enticed by the tacked in savings in the regular amortization plus the low interest rate, she considered it. On her first cycle, she was able to loan P25,000.
According to Joy, the loaning process was efficient and smooth. By and by, she learned that being a good payer leads to a discounted interest payment, so she made it a point to pay on time.
From 50K to 5M in seven years
Over the course of seven years, Joy was able to raise a total of P5 million capitalization. Using the money, she added more rolling capital to expand her business. She bought more pigs for her 4,000-square meter piggery farm and acquired a water treatment facility. Securing a down payment to a satellite market to improve their meat shop location, she invested in a fleet of vehicles. That’s not all. Joy opened other businesses like a hardware store, a grocery, and a furniture shop. She now has a combined average monthly gross sales of P4.5 million.
Of course, her family has enjoyed the fruits of their labor. She had a proper two-story house built and was able to pay for her children’s college education.
A business partner, not a borrower
As Joy continued to diversify her businesses, she needed a trusted partner. Without hesitation, she collaborated with Robinsons Bank. When the volume requirements for her meat inventory became too much to handle alone, the bank helped her. Even when she was acquiring properties, they assisted her every step of the way.
Aside from helping her business grow, Robinsons Bank taught her how to manage her finances. She didn’t just gain a good credit standing; her personal savings, increased, too. These encouraged her to perform better in her businesses.
Today, Joy supplies 50% of the meat requirements of Robinsons Supermarket Naga. She plans to venture into another business: a home depot in their small town in Naga, the first in the area—proof that anyone can achieve success with the right partner.