According to BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier several Asian lenders have “significant interest” to establish their presence in Manila, as these banks pursue expansions within Southeast Asia.
The BSP official did not disclose the name of the Asian lenders but noted that two of the live inquiries came from Taiwanese banks, two from China, one from Indonesia, and one from South Korea.
Last July, Seoul-based media reported that one of Korea’s largest bank, KB Kookmin Bank is currently looking to set up a branch in Manila after plans to acquire a 20% stake in Philippine lender East West Banking Corporation did not materialize.
According to BSP eleven foreign lenders have entered the Philippines since the signing of Republic Act 10641 in 2014, which lifted the previous limit that allowed only 10 global banks to operate in the country at a given time.
Five of the new banking players that entered the Philippines originate from Taiwan: Cathay United Bank, Yuanta Commercial Bank Co. Ltd., First Commercial Bank, Huan Nan Commercial Bank Ltd., and the Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, Ltd.
Three are from South Korea: Industrial Bank of Korea, Shinhan Bank, and Woori Bank. Others are the Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and the Singapore-based United Overseas Bank Ltd.
Last November, Malaysia’s CIMB Bank is the newest to win the nod of the Monetary Board for a full branch here in the Philippines.
According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas foreign lenders are seeing the robust growth of the Philippine economy as an opportunity to score additional yields, especially with both consumer and corporate lending posting double-digit expansions.