CHINA Banking Corp., (China Bank) is planning to open 50 branches this year, on the back of the strong economic fundamentals of the country.
Of the target branch expansion, three to four banks are set to open in Cebu to strengthen the bank’s foothold in the province.
Cebu is home to China Bank’s first provincial branch—Cebu Magallanes, which opened in 1948.
According to China Bank president and chief executive officer Ricardo Chua, Cebu is an important market, contributing 30 percent growth. He said the bank’s planned expansion in Cebu signifies their continued optimism to the strong growth story of Cebu, citing the province’s flourishing industries.
“We are actually making a big bet in Cebu forward,” said Chua, citing the numerous developments around Cebu such as malls, infrastructure development and tourism, among others.
Last week, the group opened its BPO tower—China Bank Corporate Center in Cebu Business Park.
At present, China Bank has about 24 branches in Cebu.
Alexander Escuchua, senior vice president and head of investor and corporate relations at China Bank, said they foresee growth in all of the bank’s products in retail, corporate and SME.
“China Bank’s subsidiaries China Bank Savings (CBS) and Plantersbank have various programs, all meant to improve the banks’s performance this year at the same time meet all the customer needs,” Escuchua told Sun.Star Cebu.
China Bank posted a consolidated net income of P1.21 billion for the first three months of the year, four percent higher than the earnings for the same period in 2014, on the back of strong growth of its core businesses.
Its net interest income grew 23 percent to P3.71 billion, driven by a robust 31 percent jump in interest revenues from loans. Non-interest income increased six percent to P1.07 billion, boosted by higher trading gains and branch-based fees.
In the first quarter, one China Bank and seven CBS branches were opened, all part of the planned 50 new branches for the year.
Founded in 1920, China Bank is the country’s first privately-owned local commercial bank and now the fifth largest privately-owned universal bank in terms of assets. It serves the banking needs of the corporate, commercial, and retail markets.
With the acquisition of Plantersbank in 2014 and its eventual merger with CBS, China Bank plans on building a stronger platform for SME finance. The China Bank Group now has 482 branches to date with 318 China Bank, 86 CBS, and 78 Plantersbank branches.