Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
BANK of the Philippine Islands wants to set up more branches within the year. — AFP

BANK OF THE Philippine Islands (BPI) is growing its branch network in the provincial areas in line with its financial inclusion goal and digitalization push.
In a statement on Thursday, BPI Retail Banking head Joseph Albert L. Gotuaco said the Ayala-led lender is strengthening its presence in the provinces where banking products and services support the growth of regional economies and address their demand for financial services.
“We will continue expanding our branch network to areas that show potential for the need of consumers to transact financially, save, invest, or access credit,” Mr. Gotuaco was quoted as saying in the statement.
In the first half of the year, it opened 15 new BPI branches, four BPI Family Savings Bank branches and 27 BPI Direct BanKo offices, it said.
“We want our branches to be a one-stop shop where clients feel they can have a meaningful relationship with BPI,” Mr. Gotuaco added.
For the second half of the year, BPI said in a text message that it will open 10 BPI branches and one BPI Family Savings Bank branch. It will also open 70 BPI Direct BanKo offices.
Currently, the lender and its subsidiaries have 942 branches.
Amid its push to expand its branch network, Mr. Gotuaco said BPI is also refurbishing the looks of its branches and enhancing customer experience through digital channels.
“This branch expansion is a strategic complement to our digitalization efforts, where in-branch transactions can be largely replicated on our online facility and mobile app,” said Mr. Gotuaco.
Mr. Gotuaco said in a previous interview that BPI has adapted the so-called “omnichannel” strategy where digital platforms complement traditional modes of banking.
“We’ve created an online way of scheduling an appointment in the branch if you have a cheque you want to deposit into your account so you can leave right away without talking to anybody,” he told BusinessWorld. “You don’t have to spend too much time inside the branch or step inside the branch too far to do that.”
BPI, the third-largest bank in the country in asset terms, booked a net income of P6.25 billion in the first quarter, flat from the profit posted in the same period last year, due to lower trading gains.
Shares in BPI went down P1.70 or 1.93% to close at P86.30 apiece on Thursday. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal