Remembering BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr.

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The late BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr.


BMAP joins the rest of the banking industry in honoring the memory of an upstanding leader, Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. He was Gov. Nesting to most of us, a champion of inclusivity, of making banking services more accessible to every Filipino.

He collaborated closely with industry associations like BMAP to push for his advocacies such as financial inclusion and electronic payments. He made an impact in the lives especially of the unbanked and underserved.

Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines

The Monetary Board Resolution of Condolence read by Monetary Board Member and Department of Finance (DoF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez during the necrological services held at the BSP last Feb. 28:

Resolution of condolence. The Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Noting that Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. passed away on the 23rd of February 2019.

Recalling that he served the BSP with unwavering dedication and excellence for 38 years since joining the Bangko Sentral in 1981.

Mindful that he implemented ground-breaking policies on banking supervision, capital market development, credit policy, financial inclusion and consumer protection; institutionalized risk-based and proportionate regulations, which enabled BSP-supervised institutions to innovate business models and adopt digital financial services; and championed an efficient, interoperable, and consumer-friendly digital payment system.

Acknowledging that he pioneered major reforms under the Continuity Plus Plus theme, driven by progressive and market-friendly policies, to ensure low and stable inflation; safe and sound financial system; and a secure and efficient payment system.

Recognizing that he pursued bold, financial sector reforms for a more efficient, flexible and inclusive financial system.

Stressing that he promoted financial education and consumer protection, and sustained the development and implementation of trailblazing policies that provided an enabling regulatory and operational environment, including National Retail Payment System, the digitalization of payment systems as a means of democratizing financial services.

Achievements which earned him global recognition. Emphasizing that he concurrently served as Chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Council and Philippine International Convention Center, the Financial Sector Forum, and the Financial Stability Coordination Council; and assumed leadership responsibilities, such as being the Chairman of the Basel Consultative Group Work Stream on Financial Inclusion, Governor of the International Monetary Fund, and alternate Governor for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Underscoring that he espoused employees-centered Human Resource policies that will benefit BSP employees well beyond his term of office.

And desiring to share with the bereaved family of the late Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. the grief brought by his death, we have agreed to express its sincere condolences to the family of the late Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr.. Done at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assembly Hall, City of Manila, this 28th day of February 2019.

Signed by the Honourable Juan D. de Zuñiga, Jr., Acting Chairman of the Monetary Board; Honourable Felipe M. Medalla, member of the Monetary Board; Honourable Peter B. Favila, member of the Monetary Board; Honourable Antonio S. Abacan, member of the Monetary Board; Honourable Bruce J. Tolentino, member of the Monetary Board; Honourable Maria Almasara Cyd N. Tuaño-Amador, Officer-in-Charge of the BSP; and myself, Carlos G. Dominguez, member of the Monetary Board.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

The Chamber of Thrift Banks deeply mourns the passing of Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. We honor him for his dedicated public service, his continued push for banking reforms, his strong support for the important role of thrift banks, and his advocacy for greater financial inclusion through digitalization.

He was a skillful regulator, sincere, always willing to listen and engage with us on vital issues that would greatly impact the industry, changing the status quo if necessary. To him, BSP regulations should not be a hindrance to a progressive and dynamic thrift banking industry as it fulfills its mandate of providing credit to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, consumers and housing, and thereby contribute to the growth of the Philippine economy.

The consumer was always his foremost concern, thus he collaborated with CTB and other sectors of the industry on having a simplified and standardized bank-borrower loan mortgage agreement adopted by all banks. Now known as the Unified Loan & Mortgage Agreement (ULAMA), this document upholds consumer protection by affording consumers ease in comparison of terms and conditions across the different players in the industry.

His enabling regulations on financial inclusion, such as allowing banks to set up branch-lite offices anywhere in the country, effectively extended full banking services to unbanked and underserved areas. CTB member banks responded immediately to this initiative by setting up their own branch lites and addressing the issues that hinder the unbanked from entering the formal banking sector.

In response to Gov. Espenilla’s unceasing and passionate call for banks to get seriously involved in BSP’s National Retail Payments System, another tool for promoting financial inclusion, CTB membership in the Philippine Payments System continues to grow, providing electronic fund transfer facilities thru PESONet and InstaPay.

He was instrumental for setting CTB’s collaboration with FinTech companies such as FintQ as a means to accelerate digitalization in the industry. Governor Nesting was indeed a “champion of the unbanked and underserved.” CTB continues to acknowledge his legacy through the collective efforts of its 47 member thrift banks who have embraced his enabling regulations on financial inclusion and digitalization.

Gov. Espenilla will be greatly missed. His achievements will remain as a marker of his outstanding contribution to the national economy and the banking industry.

Chamber of Thrift Banks

As finance practitioners and financial officers of our respective member firms, we believe that BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla (or Nesting, as we fondly call him) brought a sense of stability to the banking sector that was very reassuring to our respective boards, management, and investors.

When President Duterte was looking for a replacement for former BSP Governor Say Tetangco, a highly respected and awarded central bank governor, he found him in Nesting Espenilla. The President chose a man with 38 years of central banking experience who was also very highly regarded and greatly respected in the business community. When Say Tetangco stepped down, we thought it would be very difficult to find a person with equal competence and gravitas to replace him. Nesting Espenilla was that person.

Nesting was an inspirational leader who was a staunch advocate of the digital payment system, which is the beginning of the revolution the banking sector must go through as the digital world takes over. Nesting championed strong risk management and strict adherence to regulatory and financial inclusion in a more responsive banking system through good governance, proper risk management, greater financial disclosure and increased capitalization, resulting in a banking system that is the best capitalized and with the best balance sheet in the region. He was open to new ideas and doing new things. He welcomed change.

Nesting was a true professional who stood firm on his principles, even when under fire from political and special interests to accommodate them. He maintained the independence a central banker must have. Some people demand respect, Nesting earned it by proving himself in the professional, honest job he did.

Those who were close to Nesting know that he was a very humble man, in spite of being a very intelligent, knowledgeable and skilled central banker. Moreover, he had a very strong sense of humor.

He should not have left us so early in his life, but he had. The banking community is the lesser because of it.

Our hearts go out to Tess and their children, Jacqueline, Nikko, and Leonardo, son-in-law Ben, and grandchild Zev Eron. They have lost a devoted husband, loving father, great man and dear friend.

Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines

We pay tribute to an exemplary and transformational leader and a known “regulator-disruptor” who made economic inclusion his mantra. He had the passion and dedication to bring about meaningful change to the unbanked and underserved Filipinos through enabling regulations and policies.

Letting innovations thrive was one of his legacies, allowing FinTechs and similar players to provide alternative and affordable access to financial services. He made digital as a tool to harness efficiencies, collaboration and interoperability in the industry.

You will be missed.

RIP BSP Governor Nesting Espenilla, Jr.

Salamat po.

Lito Villanueva


Managing Director, FINTQnologies Corp.

It is with profound sadness that I learned the passing of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor and Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Chairman Nestor “Nesting” A. Espenilla, Jr. AMLC is composed of only three members: the governor of the BSP, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the insurance commissioner. Under the AMLC law, the three members must act unanimously on all decision-making. An objection by one member aborts a proposed action. The AMLC meets every three weeks at the BSP Governor’s office.

Governor Nesting had been resolute in improving the operations of the AMLC and in pushing for the improvement of its regulations. He had always been methodical and clear during our council deliberations. During his watch as chairman of the AMLC, Gov. Nesting pushed for the increase in AMLC manpower and improvement of the manpower capacity of the AMLC Secretariat.

Under his leadership, the AMLC continued to pursue major reforms in strengthening the country’s defenses against illegal money to ensure the stability of the entire Philippine financial system. 

On behalf of the Insurance Commission, I want to express my condolences to Nesting’s family and to acknowledge with gratitude his contribution to our country.

We remember Governor Nesting who had been a supportive partner of the commission in our advocacy for financial inclusion, consumer protection and financial stability.

We also join Governor Nesting’s family, friends and colleagues in celebrating the life of Governor Nesting — humble and soft-spoken, but bold and brave.

Governor Nesting would have been a brilliant lawyer had he continued with his law degree. But we are very lucky to have a hardworking career central banker who dedicated his life to the banking industry. 

Nesting began his career at the BSP in 1981 and steadily rose through the ranks until he was eventually appointed as governor of the BSP in May 2017 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. He concurrently served as chairman of the AMLC and the Financial Stability Coordination Council.

Today, let us remember his commitment to public service as we pray for his family during this difficult time.

Dennis B. Funa

Insurance Commissioner and AMLC Member

It is a sad day for the country and the financial services industry with the passing of Gov. Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. — humble public servant, progressive central banker, and relentless champion of financial inclusion. His legacy lives on in every effort that we all do to serve the unbanked, uncarded and underserved Filipinos with digital financial services.

Paalam and rest in peace, Gov.

Our prayers and condolences to his family and to everyone at the BSP.

Orlando Vea

President and CEO, Voyager/PayMaya Philippines/FINTQnologies

Chairman, Philippine eMoney Association (PEMA)