CHINA BANKING Corp. (China Bank) is looking at opening 23 new branches in 2019 using licenses obtained from a bank it earlier acquired.
In a statement on Wednesday, China Bank said it plans to put up 23 additional branches next year after it opened 22 new offices in 2018.
China Bank Head of Corporate Planning and Investor Relations Alexander C. Escucha said the Sy-led lender will use the remaining central bank licenses it obtained from its acquisition of Planters Development Bank (Plantersbank).
In 2014, China Bank took over the management and operations of Plantersbank after acquiring it for P1.86 billion.
China Bank said the central bank licenses it obtained from the Plantersbank acquisition will expire by the end of 2019.
“Thereafter, we will be focusing on getting the new branches hit break-even as soon as possible,” Mr. Escucha told BusinessWorld in a text message, adding that the bank will also pursue its digital initiatives.
Earlier this year, China Bank said it “tapered off” its branch openings as it is focusing on developing and enhancing its digital platforms as well as improving its infrastructure.
China Bank and its thrift banking arm China Bank Savings have a total network of 620 branches.
China Bank recorded a P5.56-billion net income for the first nine months, 2.1% lower than the P5.68 logged in the comparable year-ago period, as it was bogged down by lower non-interest revenues despite booking higher loans.
The lender recently teamed up with the International Finance Corp. to float up to $150 million in green bonds, which will fund environment-friendly projects.
China Bank shares closed at P27.30 apiece on Wednesday, down 15 centavos or 0.55%. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal