Into a wider reach

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Philippine Business Bank (PBB) has helped diversified the economy towards more sustainable growth by providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to financial and business support services. For 21 years, the bank has remained committed to this call while continuously strengthening its core business through expanding its branch network and portfolio.

From a small bank that started in 1997 — serving small clientele in Caloocan City — PBB has shown a phenomenal growth, expanding up to more than 150 branches nationwide today. The bank caters the needs of SMEs, the vital growth drivers of the economy due to its potential in driving job creation and innovation.

Fueled by the desire to serve more SMEs, PBB has increased its branch presence in areas with high concentration of the said market such as Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and Quezon City. It has also aggressively extended its footprint in provinces that are underserved or not served at all by other financial institutions. In the past years, only a handful of branches were established in Metro Manila whereas around 70 were set up in the provinces, mostly in Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

In the next month or two, the bank will open branches in Catbalogan in Samar, Ormoc in Leyte, and Solano in Nueva Vizcaya, bringing PBB a total of 155 branch network.

John David D. Sison, PBB’s Corporate Planning Group and Investor Relations head, told during a recent media briefing that in the next years, the bank is looking to add 10 to 15 branches a year.

“Everything has been growing rapidly as expected,” Mr. Sison said, noting that the growth has not just been on the financial side but on the personnel side as well. He shared that as of the end of December, PBB has 1,448 personnel.

To keep abreast with the changes and expansion, the staff of PBB undergo trainings and seminars that improve their skills and make them more responsive to clients. The bank believes that these employees have to be attuned to the demands of the work and the environment to sustain the growth the bank has achieved.

In addition to establishing more branches, PBB has acquired rural banks over the years that speed up its expansion, including the Insular Savers Bank, Bataan Savings and Loan, Inc., and Rural Bank of Kawit, Inc. that boast a notable deposit and client bases in its respective areas of operation.

Mr. Sison said that PBB is also planning to set up an initial 10 to 12 consumer finance centers around the Philippines, including lending centers in Central Luzon, Batangas, Iloilo, Legazpi, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao. He shared that this can be a promising business with a lot of potential as what they have observed in the last two to three years.

This will be handled by Rodel P. Geneblazo, former president of Insular Savers Bank, where he was able to shift the bank’s portfolio from bus loans into salary loans and secondhand auto loans. “Now, he will try to replicate that business within PBB,” Mr. Sison said.

“On that end, hopefully it’s the start of a strong consumer business for PBB where the president expects that portfolio to grow around 20% to 25% of our balance sheet by 2023,” Mr. Sison added. Mark Louis F. Ferrolino