MANILA

Bunye: One BPI

Speaking Out

DURING a special joint meeting last week, the boards of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and BPI Family Savings Bank (BFSB) unanimously agreed to set into motion the strategic union of the two banks. The merger, with BPI as the surviving entity, will take effect upon its approval by the regulators as well as the shareholders.

Immediately after the meeting, BPI President Cezar "Bong" P. Consing, who is concurrently chair of BFSB, announced:

"We are thrilled to share, that after significant study, with the best interest of our clients in mind, BPI will begin the process of operationally merging with BPI Family Savings Bank (BFSB) -- to form One BPI.

"This merger has the best interest of our customers and employees in mind. Our shareholders will also benefit. This merger is timed to provide us with the platform to help lead the economic recovery that is sure to come."

In a separate email to BPI's 8.5 million customers, Consing explained that "(t)his move will enable you to transact in more branches nationwide and conveniently access the suite of solutions offered by BPI Family Savings Bank -- from auto loans and housing loans, to higher-yielding deposit products."

Consing added: "With this merger, we are confident that we will be able to deliver on our promise of continuing to give you the best banking solutions and service. We are committed to making us ready for tomorrow, today."

Consing, meanwhile, assured BFSB's 3,000 employees of "an opportunity to work across a larger, more varied bank, while having continuity of tenure and job level."

On July 1, 1985, the then Central Bank of the Philippines authorized BPI Family Savings Bank to operate as a thrift bank following the merger between BPI and Famiy Bank and Trust Company. At that time, it was considered the largest merger in Philippine banking history.

BFSB offered a strong retail network and an extensive online system that reinforced BPI's pioneering efforts in ATM. BFSB had a large footprint in consumer finance, with the absorption of Family Bank's Filinvest Credit Corporation, then the largest and most profitable consumer finance company. BFSB has since become the largest thrift bank in the country with P287 billion in assets, P235 billion in deposits and P227 billion in loans.

Best bank in 2020

Congratulations to the board and management of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), which was recently recognized as the Best Bank in the Philippines for 2020 by Euromoney, the prestigious global financial publication. Established in 1992, Euromoney's Awards for Excellence is the first of its kind in the global banking industry.

Euromoney cited BPI's multi-year digital transformation journey and the success of its investment banking division, which in 2019 generated almost three times the revenues of the prior year.

According to Euromoney, "Bank of the Philippine Islands is a port in a storm -- and right now, we are in a storm. It isn't the country's biggest bank as measured by assets. But the Ayala-backed BPI has a higher tier-1 capital adequacy ratio (15.19 percent at the end of March 2020) compared to its chief rival."

If I may just add, financial analysts also notice that BPI is tops in other metrics like ROE, P/E and P/B ratios. The Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas gives BPI consistently high marks for good governance. The Securities and Exchange Commission lauds BPI for its Green Finance Framework.

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