CARD SME Bank president among outstanding San Pableños

CARD SME Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Aristeo “Boyet” A. Dequito is named as the 2019 Outstanding San Pableño in the field of microfinance and SME banking as recognized by the City of San Pablo on May 7, 2019, in time for the city’s 79th Charter Anniversary.

Dequito is recognized for his contributions in the field of Banking (microfinance and SME) for 31 years now.  

“This award reminds me of my journey as a development worker at CARD. I am forever thankful to the City of San Pablo for recognizing the efforts I and CARD have done for more than three decades,” said Dequito.

Back in 1988 when the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) became operational in San Pablo City, Laguna, Dequito is the institution’s first Account Officer (AO), who was working as a social-development agent that provides communities with various development-oriented programs and financial services.

After working as an AO, he was then promoted to several positions. After nine years of working in CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), he was transferred to CARD Bank from 1997-2005. According to Dequito, the transition of his work from an NGO to bank allowed him to expand his horizons.

“Eventually, my work at CARD became more challenging every year. But I didn’t give up. I even pushed myself so I could gain more knowledge that would be useful in managing organizations in the future,” recalled Dequito.

Dequito’s first break was when he became the first president and CEO of CARD-Business Development Service Foundation Inc. (CARD-BDSFI).

“We were planning to professionalize the business development program of CARD back then. Fortunately, Boyet was taking up his master’s degree at Asian Institute of Management (AIM). So I challenged him to consider the establishment of CARD-Business Development Service Foundation as a subject of his thesis,” said Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, founder and chair emeritus of CARD MRI.

Dequito’s graduation and CARD-BDSFI’s official registration at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) both happened in 2008.

At CARD-BDSFI, Dequito ensures that the business development and marketing needs of the microfinance clients of CARD MRI will be addressed accordingly. “CARD has hundreds and thousands of clients already that time, which is quite a challenging task on our end. But with the trust and support of the management, we were able to provide interventions to our clients tailored fit to their needs,” he added.

During the term of Dequito, he established the Mga Likha ni Inay (MLNI), a marketing program of CARD-BDSFI, which was then registered as a separate entity in 2014, adding to the growing institutions under CARD MRI.

The CARD-BDSFI was also the inspiration on the establishment of CARD Leasing and Finance Corporation (CLFC) in 2013. The roots of activities of CLFC can be traced back from CARD-BDSFI’s development of scalable projects. Among their projects are solar products, printing, and finance lease, among others.

Dequito was the president of these three social enterprises until 2015 when he was given a new challenge by CARD MRI to lead its CARD SME Bank. Dequito is the second president and CEO of the bank after it was acquired in 2007.

The bank is CARD MRI’s thrift bank that provides SME loans and other financial and community development programs to its more than 840,000 clients nationwide.

The leadership of Dequito, according to CARD MRI Managing Director Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, is instrumental in the further growth and development of the bank, which contributed significant effects to our clients and the community as a whole.

“Boyet always has the heart to serve. When he was the vice president of CARD Bank in 2002, significant accomplishments were attained by the bank because of his exceptional leadership skills. No wonder he also maintained the good performance of CARD SME Bank in terms of repayment and business viability of its clients. The loan outstanding also continues to grow, meaning, more and more MSMEs in the Philippines are provided with their financial needs,” Sarmiento added.

The bank also remained to be consistent in receiving awards every year. One of the key awards that the bank is proud of is their financial inclusion award given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“My rich experience in microfinance and SME banking all started at CARD. I owe this award to CARD and to its millions of clients,” thanked Dequito. His academic journey at Harvard Business School also helped him in strategically steering the bank’s future.

He also extends his utmost gratitude to his CARD MRI family. “CARD has been the wind beneath my wings. Where I am today is because of the support of CARD. My sincerest thanks to Dr. Aris Alip and Dr. Dolores M. Torres, who have been my mentors since I started working at CARD,” he said. Dr. Alip and Dr. Torres were also a recipient of the same award.

Dequito is also an active civic leader and once became the National President of the Association of Apex Club of the Philippines, which was founded in Australia in 1931.

“I will continue my work and pass on to others the lessons I’ve learned so a lot of people could also benefit and help others grow,” he said challenging himself.

Dequito is a native of San Pablo City and married to Jocelyn “Joy” Dequito, who is also one of the executives of CARD MRI. Dequito has three children – Arvin John who is a banker, Alvin Joseph, a businessman, and Arjay Paul who is still a student.

“I am thankful to my wife and especially our children for the support they’ve poured out in my journey at CARD. I and Joy are very busy working everyday but our children’s love and understanding on the passion I and Joy both work on is unwavering,” he concluded.