BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to increase its capital stock to P50.6 billion in line with its merger plans with unit BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc. (BFSB).

“The amendment to the Articles of Incorporation — increase in authorized capital is related to the proposed merger of BFSB to BPI,” the bank said in a filing with the local bourse on Wednesday.

It said the SEC gave its approval on Dec. 21.

After the SEC’s approval, BPI’s Article of Incorporation has been amended to reflect the higher capital stock from P49.6 billion previously.

This follows the increase in the common stock of BPI to 5 billion shares from 4.9 billion shares.

The planned merger has already secured regulatory approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Meanwhile, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. said its approval will be dependent on the view of the BSP’s Monetary Board.

For its part, the Philippine Competition Commission has said the transaction can be exempted from review as it qualifies as an internal restructuring.

BPI earlier said its merger with BFSB would take effect once the SEC issues a Certificate of Merger or by Jan. 1, 2022, with BPI as the surviving bank.

It was in January when BPI first disclosed the merger plan, citing the reduction in the gap in the regulatory reserve requirements between commercial banks and thrift banks as a factor for the move.

BFSB is the country’s largest thrift bank with assets worth P294.519 billion as of June 30, based on BSP data.

BPI is the fourth largest among universal and commercial banks with assets worth P1.891 trillion as of end-June.

BPI’s net income in the July-to-September period rose by 3% year on year to P5.657 billion from P5.495 billion, as lower credit provisions offset the decline in interest earnings. Its nine-month net earnings increased by 1.8% to P17.5 billion.

On Wednesday, shares in BPI closed lower by 40 centavos or 0.43% at P91.70 apiece. — Luz Wendy T. Noble