Closures, mergers pull down number of Philippines banks to 602
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The number of banks operating in the Philippines continued to decline last year amid the continued consolidation of banks as well as the closure of 22 problematic players, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

The number of big and small banks operating in the country reached 602 last year, 30 less than the 632 in end 2015.

The number of big banks or universal and commercial banks went up to 42 from 40 with the entry of new foreign banks. These comprised of 21 universal banks and 21 commercial banks.

The BSP has given nine more foreign banks the green light to set up shop in the Philippines after former president Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10641 in July 2014.

These include Sumitomo Mitsui of Japan, Shinhan Bank of South Korea, Cathay United Bank of Taiwan, Industrial Bank of Korea, Yuanta Bank of Taiwan, United Overseas Bank Ltd. of Singapore, Seoul-based Woori Bank, First Commercial Bank of Taiwan, and Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd of Taiwan.

The central bank is also currently assessing the applications of six more foreign banks.

The BSP said the number of thrift banks reached 60 last year from 68 in 2015 while the number of rural and cooperative banks decreased to 500 from 524.

The BSP’s Monetary Board ordered the closure of 22 rural banks that were placed under the supervision of the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) last year, eight more than the 14 banks shuttered in 2015.

The bank regulator is now offering regulatory incentives for mergers and consolidations as well as acquisition of majority or all of the outstanding shares of stock of a bank or quasi-bank to enhance the overall competitiveness of the industry.

 

PHILIPPINES BANKS
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