In the Philippines, banks target shoppers still searching for stability

In a recession year, what a surprise it was last month to see a modest Filipino family hauling a big box containing their new widescreen TV. Before they rushed off to do more shopping, in answer to my query they said the purchase was “thanks to the credit cards—their offers are better this month!” bdo-credit-card

Off I went to the appliance store to investigate. What I found is that banks were offering extended payment like never before. Credit cards from Citibank and BDO (Banco de Oro) touted “Buy now, pay in 2010” and “Pay much later” schemes. Surely a big help to the Filipino family with a primary breadwinner still working abroad and perhaps a little late coming home for Christmas. Or families still feeling unstable because a member lost a well-paying job in 2009.
And banks know that in December, along with splurging on food for their family, the typical Filipino family loves TV Christmas specials and soap operas, now amplified for some in wide-screen splendor.

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