PHILIPPINE NATIONAL Bank President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jose Arnulfo “Wick” A. Veloso has been elected as the new president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).

Mr. Veloso will succeed Bank of the Philippine Islands President and CEO Cezar P. Consing as the head of the industry group.

“I look forward to collaborating with the government to support their efforts and look for ways to speed up the recovery of the economy. We will work with the government, its lawmakers and our regulators especially in building, enhancing or amending banking laws and regulations to help promote economic activity safely,” Mr. Veloso was quoted as saying in a BAP statement released on Monday.

During the annual general membership meeting on Monday, BAP members also elected Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo as first vice-president and ING Bank- N.V. Manila Country Manager and Head of Clients Hans B. Sicat as second vice-president.

Meanwhile, UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Executive Edwin R. Bautista and Security Bank Corp. President and CEO Sanjiv Vohra will serve as BAP’s treasurer and secretary, respectively.

The industry group also welcomed new members to its board of directors including representatives from the Bank of China; Bank of Commerce; BDO Unibank, Inc.; China Banking Corp.; Development Bank of the Philippines; The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.; ING Bank; JPMorgan Chase Bank; LANDBANK; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.; Mizuho Bank Manila Branch; PNB; Standard Chartered Bank; Security Bank; and UnionBank.

Amid the pandemic, BAP worked alongside legislators in crafting support measures such as Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal As One Act;, RA No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act; and RA No. 11523 or the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act.

“2020 is a year navigating through uncharted territories. It is during these times that we have further demonstrated BAP’s unparalleled support to the banking industry and its members,” BAP Managing Director Benjamin Castillo said.

Mr. Consing, BAP’s outgoing president and chairman, said they have also given inputs for other key legislations for the financial system such as the amendments to RA 10000 or the Agri-Agra Credit Act of 2009; changes to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.’s charter; the proposed Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery of GUIDE Act; and the bank secrecy bills that are still pending in Congress.

BAP is an industry group for the country’s universal and commercial banks. Its members include 45 lenders, of which 21 are local banks while 24 are foreign bank branches.

The cumulative net income of universal and commercial banks slumped 32.7% to P142.56 billion in 2020 from the P211.57 billion booked in 2019 as they beefed up their loan loss provisions amid the crisis. — L.W.T. Noble