In the Philippines, rural banks are a force to reckon with. Many livelihoods depend on these small community financial institutions that operate in the economically-underdeveloped regions.
But these banks are becoming increasingly out of reach.
Marilyn Balwit, 41, ends up spending as much as 700 pesos (US$12) everytime she makes the journey to her bank. She runs a variety store in Selinog, a small island in Mindanao—the Philippines’ southernmost island group.
Balwit earns an average of 7,500 pesos (US$128) a month, which means a trip to the nearest bank eats up almost 10% of her monthly income.