Bangko Sentral approves 81 new bank branches
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved 81 applications for new bank offices in the first quarter, as the industry continues to expand coverage to seize growth opportunities in unserved areas.
Universal and commercial banks accounted for the bulk of the applications in the first three months with 47, followed by rural banks and cooperative banks with 18 and thrift banks with 16.
Bank of Commerce had 15 applications approved in January to March while Security Bank Corp. and BDO Unibank Inc. had 11 each.
Bangko Sentral approved seven new branches for Land Bank of the Philippines, two for China Banking Corp. and one for Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
Banks also opened 108 branches in the first quarter. Universal and commercial banks accounted for 33, thrift banks for 46 and rural banks and cooperative banks for 29.
RCBC opened 14 branches in the first quarter, followed by BDO Unibank Inc. with five, Robinsons Bank Corp. with three, and Development Bank of the Philippines and Security Bank with two each.
Asian United Bank of the Rebisco group, China Bank, East West Banking Corp., Maybank Philippines, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Union Bank of the Philippines and Singapore-based United Overseas Bank opened a branch each.
Latest report from Bangko Sentral showed the Philippine banking system remained strong as balance sheets were marked by a sustained growth in assets and deposits.
Total deposits as of end-January hit P7.3 trillion, up by 11.3 percent or P700 billion from a year ago.
Demand, savings and time deposits expanded by 17.4 percent, 13.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Foreign currency deposits owned by residents also grew 12.5 percent to P1.5 trillion.
Banks’ initiatives to improve asset quality along with prudent lending regulations helped maintain the gross non-performing loan ratio below the pre-Asian crisis level of 3.5 percent.
Total resources of the banking system grew 7.6 percent to P12.4 trillion as of end-December 2015 from P11.5 trillion a year ago. As a percentage of gross domestic product, total resources hit 93.4 percent.
Banks also remained well capitalized amid tighter capital requirements. The industry’s capitalization was predominantly composed of common equity Tier 1, the highest quality among instruments eligible as bank capital.
Universal and commercial banks’ capital adequacy ratio of 16.4 percent was higher than those of Malaysia (16.1 percent) and South Korea (13.9 percent), but lower than those of Indonesia (20.6 percent) and Thailand (17.4 percent).
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