THE merger of Lucio Tan-owned Philippine National Bank (PNB) and Allied Banking Corp. is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.
But the new PNB president said that on top of the merger, the bank will also implement a series of acquisitions, major branch modernization and staffing of many positions.
“We have found the buyer already. The purchase of Oceanic share is currently in the process of approval. We are currently undergoing clearance with the regulators in the US…we expect to get a close within the fourth quarter of the year,” said PNB president Eugene Acevedo in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu on Saturday.
Allied Bank said it needed to sell its 28 percent equity in California-based Oceanic Bank in order to secure approval of US regulators for the merger. US rules on the entry of new foreign banks require the divestment of Allied Bank from Oceanic Bank.
PNB will effectively own Oceanic Bank once it merges with Allied Bank.
The merger between PNB and Allied Bank is expected to create the country’s fourth-largest private bank with PNB as the “single brand.”
“We hope that by January next year, all PNB and Allied Bank branches will be using PNB as the brand,” he said.
“There will be a lot of cost savings in terms of general and administrative expenses.
We will also try to make sure that the merger will not affect the customers and they will continue to enjoy the kind of services they have always enjoyed,” Acevedo said.
He was in Cebu for the bank’s Client Night at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.
He said PNB and Allied Bank have been under the integration process since 2008, resulting in combined training programs for branch officers, alignment of procurement policies, joint review and rationalization of branches and locations and interconnection of both banks’ ATM systems.
Aside from the merger, Acevedo said PNB is on the look-out for acquiring new banks after the merger with Allied Bank.
He, however, declined to comment as to the number of banks that will be acquired.
“For sure there will be a series of acquisitions to further strengthen PNB,” Acevedo said. He said the bank has maintained a strong network in the provinces.
He said this is the reason the bank is aggressive in tapping top talents for various positions.
Acevedo said the bank is looking for about 100 management trainees nationwide. He said that since the start of the year, the bank has hired about 30 bankers for various positions from assistant vice-president to executive vice-president.
“This is in a bid to help the bank become more competitive across all of its products,” he said. He said the bank intends to reclaim the top spot for overseas Filipino remittances in investment banking, fifth in card business and one of the best banks in terms of treasury and trust products.
To further expand its customer base, PNB will also “modernize” its branches to attract the younger market.
Acevedo said over a hundred PNB branches in Manila, Cebu and Davao will undergo renovations within the next 18 months.
Cebu renovations will start later this year or early next year.
“As for Cebu, we intend to expand our coverage for the retail and corporate customers.
Cebu will definitely be the center for the Visayas push,” Acevedo said.