Saturday, September 22, 2018

PNB breaks ground on office tower

A 17-STOREY Philippine National Bank (PNB) Tower will soon rise at the Cebu Business Park (CBP).

The tower, which will be a Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) accredited building, offers 25,500 square meters of leasable space targeted towards multinational and business process management firms that are looking to establish a presence in the Visayas.

The PNB Tower will house nine levels of office spaces, two levels of food and commercial establishments and five above-ground parking levels. It will also have a PNB branch, a PNB business center and the PNB Pinnacle Club.

PNB president Reynaldo Maclang yesterday said PNB’s expansion in one of Cebu’s business districts is a timely endeavor, citing Cebu’s rapid progress in all fronts, and being the center of trade, tourism and commerce in the Visayas.

The PNB Tower is located at Mindanao Ave. corner Siquijor Road at the CBP. It broke ground yesterday and is slated for completion by 2020.

PNB has about 29 branches in Cebu City and 52 branches in the province.

As of September, it had a network of 680 branches nationwide and has 71 overseas branches, representative offices, and remittance centers and subsidiaries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

Amid competition and entry of foreign banks into the country, PNB chairman Flor Gozon Tarriela said they remain optimistic of retaining existing clients and attracting new customers, particularly the younger market.

“We are happy to note that clients who have grown up with the bank have brought their third generation to us, which means our services have been upgraded to cater to the demands of the younger market,” said Tarriela.

PNB is a 102-year-old bank. In 2013, the bank officially merged with Allied Banking Corp. and are now both owned and controlled by tycoon Lucio Tan.

Bernie Tocmo, PNB retail banking sector head, said the thrust of the bank is digitization.

Tocmo said the bank’s mobile banking app won the Digital Banking Initiative of the Year award from the Asian Banking and Finance Retail Banking Awards in 2017. He said they launched the app to cater to the needs of the tech-savvy market.

To reach out to the unbanked segment of the country, Tocmo said PNB will be opening smaller branches in select areas in the country.

Within the year, PNB Branch Lite will be opened in Talamban, in areas between Liloan and Danao as well as in Naga.

“The PNB Branch Lite is for the unbanked areas that we want to serve,” said Tocmo. These smaller branches which will offer basic banking services with have a maximum size of 50 square meters and operated by three bank employees.

“This will be our solution to plug more Filipinos into the formal financial sector,” said Tarriela.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Consumer Finance Survey 2014, 86 percent of Filipino households don’t have bank accounts because they don’t have enough money to keep an account.