Nanay Maria sold food by the side of the road for five years before getting a loan from CARD Bank to open her restaurant.
Eight years ago, Nanay Maria Andal sold eggs and rice cakes by the side of the road. She didn’t have enough capital to expand her business until 2005, when she joined CARD Bank, a microfinance-oriented rural bank in the Philippines. She took out an initial loan of 3,000 pesos (about $73) and combined it with her small savings to add another local delicacy – sweetened bananas on a stick – to her menu.
After building a strong repayment history with several small loans, Nanay Maria successfully applied for a loan of 50,000 pesos (about $1,215) to open a restaurant next to the main highway in 2009.
The restaurant now serves 50 to 100 busloads of people daily and employs 24 people, earning Nanay Maria and her husband 1.8 million pesos (roughly $43,850) in profits each year. Each week, she deposits 25 percent of her profits into a savings account at CARD Bank for her children’s education and future business expansion.
Nanay Maria’s hard work recently earned her the inaugural Galing ni Nanay award (which, loosely translated, means “Mom’s outstanding or impressive skills”) from CARD Bank. Launched earlier this year, it recognizes clients who successfully grow their businesses and contribute to their community’s development. Not only has Nanay Maria created a better life for her family, but she has also helped more than 20 other people earn a living and build a better life for their families. She plans to use the award money of 350,000 pesos (about $8,500) to build a tire-repair center next to her restaurant.
Nanay Maria’s success story underscores the importance of giving poor people access to loans, savings accounts and other financial services that can help them create businesses and reach their full potential. Grameen Foundation has worked with CARD Bank for the past decade to provide these opportunities to poor Filipinos, and is currently helping it enhance the savings products for its clients. Since launching our microsavings initiative in 2010, we have helped CARD Bank enroll more than 280,000 new savers by making savings products safer and more accessible through the use of ATM machines, mobile phones and other services.
When asked what tips she’d like to share with other budding microentrepreneurs, Nanay Maria, says, “Be courageous and in the right frame of mind, and have the right direction. Always be humble, and always keep your feet on the ground.”
The full scope of financial services included in the term “microfinance” – payments, savings, loans and insurance – are critical components in the toolbox of the poor as they manage their meager and inconsistent cash flows and, thus, their lives. Donate today  to help Grameen Foundation’s work with local organizations and others in communities around the world.