ONB expands in Visayas, partners with Iloilo RB

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012


AS PART of its expansion this year, homegrown rural bank, the One Network Bank (ONB), has partnered with an established rural bank in Iloilo province through what it called the stock swap.

This is ONB's first expansion outside of Mindanao where it operates 87 branches and a fleet of 120 ATMs.

ONB president Alex Buenaventura said at the inauguration and blessing of ONB Center, the bank's seven-storey corporate center in Sasa, Davao City Monday, that the bank recently signed a partnership agreement with Banko San Enrique or the Rural Bank of San Enrique Inc. (RBSEI), a rural bank in Iloilo with five branches scattered in potential growth areas in the province. RBSEI also has a Business Development Office (BDO) in Iloilo City.

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"We have been successful in serving small accounts in Mindanao's country sides with our 87 branches. For 10 years, we have continued to serve small accounts in areas unserved or underserved by commercial banks," Buenaventura said, as he welcomed guests and ONB stockholders at opening program of Monday's event.

He said ONB has introduced modern banking in these areas, including ATM, Online and e-banking, making the countryside banking more convenient.
"Can you imagine rural folks now enjoying access to these modern banking services," he said.

He said these are the same reasons that prompted the bank "to search and scan the Visayas" where there are several areas that have not been served or underserved by commercial banks.

"We see in Iloilo what we are looking for," referring to ONB's partnership with RBSEI.

Buenaventura said the partnership agreement is in the form of a stock swap where every share of stock of RBSEI will be exhanged with 2.43 shares of stock of ONB.

The plan is to merge RBSEI with ONB upon approval of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) within one year, he said.

RSBEI has six branches in Iloilo Province -- in Iloilo City, Guimaras, Passi, San Enrique and Dingle and its BDO in Iloilo City, which will also be converted into a branch upon BSP approval, making it the sixth branch in the Visayas.

At the same time, also subject to BSP approval, Buenaventura said five more branches will be applied for within the next two years as merger incentive.

"The potential network of 11 branches over a period of two years will provide a wide network of modern bank branches especially in the countryside areas of Iloilo. This will make the surviving bank's (ONB) total network to 98 branches," Buenaventura said.

ONB is the widest rural banking network in the country, belonging to the Consunji Group of Companies, with a net worth of P2.6 billion and P16 billion in assets as of March 31, 2012.

RBSEI, on the other hand, has a net worth of P9.8 million in capital and P119.5 million in assets as of the same period.

For his part, ONB chair Victor Consuji said the newly-inaugurated ONB Center will serve as the nerve center of the bank's operations in Mindanao as well as in the Visayas.

"This stands as the nerve center as we continue to deliver modern financial services to rural areas in Mindanao and now in the Visayas," he said.

Consunji said ONB has at least 560,000 depositors, some 375,000 of whom are ATM cardholders.

"Collectively, we dispense P2.7 billion monthly through our ATMs," he said.

He said the corporate center houses all of ONB support units composed of 325 head office employees. ONB has a total of more than 1,200 employees it is 87 branches.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 22, 2012.

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