The Philippine central bank is set to unwind the relief measure allowing banks to use loans to small businesses and large enterprises as alternative compliance with the reserve requirements. — REUTERS

BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has finalized the sale of its shares in GoTyme Bank Corp. that it obtained after its merger with Robinsons Bank Corp. (RBC), it said on Tuesday.

The listed bank’s representatives on April 1 signed the deeds for absolute sale for the shares, BPI said in a disclosure to the local bourse on Tuesday.

BPI sold its stake in GoTyme Bank back to the digital lender’s existing majority and minority shareholders “to address any potential conflict of interest created by the significant overlap in and similarity of product offerings of GoTyme Bank and BPI,” it previously said.

The sale was approved by BPI’s board of directors in a meeting on March 20. Gokongwei-led JG Summit Capital Services Corp. and Tyme Group earlier said their board of directors also approved plans to buy out BPI’s minority stake in the digital lender.

Under the transaction, BPI sold 752,056,290 common shares in GoTyme Bank at P1.20 per share or P902.47 million in cash.

Broken down, 744,099,587 of common shares in GoTyme were sold to Gokongwei-led GoTyme Financial Pte. Ltd., while 7,956,703 common shares went to Giga Investment Holdings Pte. Ltd..

The shares sold by BPI represent 15% of the outstanding capital stock of GoTyme Bank.

GoTyme Bank is a partnership between the Gokongwei and Tyme groups. It is one of the six digital banks licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to operate in the country.

The online lender began commercial operations in October 2022 and is targeting to grow its customer base to five million by the end of this year from about three million currently. It also expects to turn a profit within the next three years.

Meanwhile, BPI said in a separate statement on Tuesday that it is offering personal cyber insurance to its debit card holders for protection against unauthorized transactions and lost cards.

“Ensuring the peace of mind of our valued BPI Debit Cardholders is our utmost priority with the introduction of Personal Cyber Insurance. This innovative offering provides enhanced security and protection for their daily transactions, underscoring our commitment to their financial well-being,” Unsecured Lending and Cards Product & Sales Head Jenelyn Z. Lacerna said.

The BPI MS Personal Cyber Insurance is available for a fee starting at P700 annually.

It covers e-commerce purchase protection, which reimburses customers for items bought online that are accidentally damaged, undelivered or come from fraudulent sellers.

The insurance also protects customers from unauthorized or fraudulent transactions made via lost cards for up to 12 hours prior to the report of the incident.

BPI MS Personal Cyber Insurance also protects customers from unauthorized third-party transfers.

BPI Debit cardholders can select from a range of coverage options, depending on their needs. Clients may also opt for recurring payments to automatically renew their coverage.

“The launch of BPI’s Personal Cyber Insurance signifies the bank’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the financial security and overall well-being of its clients amid the dynamic landscape of digital transactions,” the bank said.

“Building upon the robust security features already embedded within the BPI Debit Card, this innovative insurance offering serves to fortify and enhance the existing safeguards, providing an extra layer of protection against evolving cyberthreats,” it added.

BPI’s attributable net income rose by 61.13% year on year to P54.82 billion in 2023.

Its shares dropped by P1.10 or 0.93% to close at P117 apiece on Tuesday. — A.M.C. Sy