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Bank of Taiwan starts operations in Philippines

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THE Bank of Taiwan has started its operations in the Philippines, the central bank said, which comes months after receiving its license from the regulator.

The state-run Taiwanese bank opened its representative office in Manila on Jan. 31, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced via Circular Letter 2019-011 issued last Friday.

This comes nearly a year after the Monetary Board approved the foreign bank’s pitch to open a marketing unit in the country.

However, the central bank clarified that the Bank of Taiwan cannot offer actual banking services or process transactions for clients based here.




“As a liaison office of the Bank of Taiwan which deals directly with the public, its function shall be limited to promoting and providing information about the services/products offered by Bank of Taiwan and shall not include those of its affiliates,” according to the circular letter signed by BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier.

The Taipei-based lender registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 18, 2018. Later that month, the BSP also granted the bank a certificate of authority to operate a representative office here.

Bank of Taiwan started operations in May 1946, making it the oldest government-owned bank in that country. The commercial lender has since expanded its operations through overseas branches and banking offices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, United States, United Kingdom and South Africa.

There are 13 foreign banks running representative offices in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, 12 other offshore lenders have ventured into the Philippine market following the passage of Republic Act 10641 in 2014. The law lifted the old limit that allowed only 10 foreign-owned banks to operate in the country at any given time.

Five Taiwanese banks have opened full branches in Manila over the last four years: Cathay United Bank, Yuanta Commercial Bank Co. Ltd., First Commercial Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd., and the Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, Ltd.

Central bank officials said foreign lenders are actively trying to enter the local market amid the country’s robust growth story, a strong middle class and as more of their corporate clients abroad engage increased trade and investments with Philippine firms. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez