CHINA BANKING Corp. (China Bank) is set to open more branches this year amid its digital push and an ongoing rationalization of offices.
China Bank Deputy Group Head of Retail Banking Business Jose L. Osmeña, Jr. said in the text message on Sunday that the Sy-led lender set open eight to 10 more branches this year.
“[We have opened] eight branches so far and we will open eight to 10 branches more this year,” Mr. Osmeña said, adding the lender has allocated P8-10 million per branch.
Mary Ann R. Ducanes, China Bank’s marketing communication department head, said China Bank will be using the branch licenses of the banks they previously acquired.
“Right now, we’re using the licenses of the banks we acquired so we’ll be opening more branches for the rest of the year,” she told in an interview.
China Bank acquired Manila Bank owned by the Puyat family in 2007. It also bought Planters Development Bank, completing the takeover in 2014.
Currently, China Bank has 444 branches, according to Mr. Osmeña.
The lender is also mulling to put up trimmed down banking branches or “branch-lite” units.
“Our branch-lite units are still on the pipeline. We have no number [of branch-lite units we want to open] yet,” Ms. Ducanes added.
“There are areas that do not need a full-blown branch. So if you want to reach other areas in the country, banks are encouraged to open branch-lite units,” Ms. Ducanes said, adding that China Bank will “plan for that next year.”
“This year, we have actually tapered off the branch opening given the fact that we are more concentrating on digital banking drive as well as infrastructure improvement of China Bank,” China Bank Treasurer Benedict L. Chan said.
“We’re are now actually trying to rightsize it given the current market environment. There’s a rationalization that is going on in China Bank.”
Mr. Osmeña said the bank expects a pickup in the usage of its internet and mobile banking platforms following its revamped phone application.
China Bank’s net income went up 2% to P1.5 billion in the first quarter of the year.
Its shares went up 10 centavos or 0.30% to end at P33.30 apiece on Friday. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal