First APEC SME Meeting and Conference in RP to tackle SME sustainability in the 21st century
Current trends in small and medium enterprise (SME) banking to achieve sustainability in today’s changing economic environment are the featured topics of this year’s annual conference of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member SME financial institutions.
The theme of the 2012 APEC SME Meeting and Conference, “SME Banking in a Changing Landscape,” is actually meant to revisit the summit’s founding doctrine that was developed during its first assembly in 2003 — which is to increase the relevance and value of SME financing especially among APEC-member economies.
The conference will tackle new trends in SME financing, the sustainability of SME banks in facing the changing economic environment, and the environmental angle in SME financing.
For the first time, the conference which is attended by Chief Executives of member SME banks in the region will be held in the Philippines. Planters Development Bank (Plantersbank), the country’s lead SME bank and lone Philippine representative to the APEC SME, is hosting the 3-day conference and meeting.
“Hosting the APEC SME summit will help further strengthen the role of SME banking in the Philippines. It will also help small and medium-scale enterprises in the country adapt to the changing times”, according to Plantersbank chairman and CEO Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting.
“This is a valuable opportunity to deepen our ties with SME institutions in the region, and discuss with them concerns and plans for SME development that may have a considerable impact, not just on SME banks and on entrepreneurs, but ultimately the Asia-Pacific region,” he adds.
Currently, the APEC SME has 13 financial institution members from 11 APEC-member economies. Plantersbank is the first and only local financial institution from the Philippines to have been invited to the APEC SME organization in 2006. This was when Ambassador Tambunting was invited as guest speaker in their 2006 Meeting and Conference. The other members are China Development Bank, the Bank of China (Hongkong), the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the Standard Chartered Bank (Hongkong), the Japan Finance Corporation, the Industrial Bank of Korea, the Association of Banks in Malaysia, the Nacional Financiera SNC, the Association of Banks in Singapore, the Taiwan Cooperative Bank, the SME Development Bank of Thailand, the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade – Vietin Bank.
“With SMEs playing a key role in building a healthy economy, this yearly gathering gives us the opportunity to share industry-best practices and developments in SME finance which could help us in further improving our services and offerings for SMEs. We also plan to showcase all the advances we have made through the years in terms of SME financing,” says Tambunting.