THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the entry of another Taiwanese bank into the Philippines, marking broader presence of these foreign lenders here.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said the Monetary Board approved last month the opening of a representative office of the Land Bank of Taiwan.
Ms. Fonacier said the state-owned lender secured the BSP’s approval during the Monetary Board’s Feb. 14 meeting.
Land Bank of Taiwan was put up in 1946 originally to facilitate land policies post-World War II. Its operations later on focused on real estate and agricultural credit.
The Taipei-based lender also runs seven branches in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, and the United States.
The bank joins 13 other offshore banks running representative offices in the Philippines. This means their operations are limited to marketing the products and services of their home unit, as they cannot offer actual banking services or process transactions for clients based here.
The Bank of Taiwan, another Taipei-based government bank, opened its representative office in Manila last Jan. 31.
Apart from this, five other Taiwanese banks also opened full branches in the country over the last four years: Cathay United Bank, Yuanta Commercial Bank Co. Ltd., First Commercial Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd., and the Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, Ltd.
They form part of 12 offshore lenders who have forayed into the Philippine market following the signing of Republic Act 10641 in 2014. The law lifted the old limit that allowed only 10 foreign-owned banks to operate in the country at any given time.
The BSP has noted strong interest in the local market among foreign banks. Ms. Fonacier previously said some banks are also following big corporate clients abroad who are now doing business here. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez