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Micro-financial services firms fill in the gap for quick cash at the height of pandemic. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CEBUANA LHUILLIER

During the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila that left 50 percent of banks operating on limited capacity, most micro-financial institutions continued to operate, offering pawning, money remittance, bills payment, and microinsurance products and services to low-income Filipinos. Cebuana Lhuillier was one of those microfinancial services companies which continued to operate, ensuring that 90 percent of its branches were open, especially for those who need to pawn their gadgets or jewelries to avail of quick cash loans. The company also serviced remittance transactions for those who needed to receive or send money. “It was very challenging just to ensure that we have as many branches open as possible. After putting safety protocols in place for both our front-liners and our clients, we were able to continue our services, with only a small number of branches severely hampered,” Jean Henri Lhuillier, president and CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier, said.

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