SECURITY Bank Corp. is considering establishing more branch-lite units to expand its network to untapped and unbanked areas.
On Tuesday, Security Bank Branch Banking Group Head Leslie Y. Cham said the listed lender will consider opening branch-lite offices to expand its presence to areas which still do not have enough Security Bank branches.
“With the more flexible provisions set by the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) for branch-lite offices… we have the option to augment the presence of our branches in specific areas where we see further growth and an untapped potential market,” Mr. Cham told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.
By opening branch-lite units, he added that Security Bank will be able to lower cost of operations and be present in busy and commercial areas with limited spaces.
In December, the central bank allowed banks to set up branch-lite units. This kind of branch is compact and less formal compared with the typical brick-and-mortar bank branch, and can be opened in towns which are unbanked or underserved.
“Branch-lite offices allow us to further grow our network of 171 branches in Metro Manila and 130 branches in the provinces,” Mr. Cham added.
The bank said establishing branch-lite offices will complement its full-service branches, allowing Security Bank to have wider market reach and greater accessibility.
Security Bank currently has one branch-lite office in The Medical City in Pasig City, which complements its full branch located at the same hospital.
“A similar set-up is currently being considered and the line-up needs to be reviewed in line with our overall branch expansion framework,” Mr. Cham said. “We are looking to adopt the hub and spoke model, and we will be able to identify the final list in the next few months.”
Mr. Cham added that the lender will be “selective” in establishing full-service branches in strategic areas.
Late last month, Security Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Alfonso L. Salcedo, Jr. said the bank will grow its digital presence this year which will take precedence over branches.
“[We’re putting up] maybe fewer than five [branches] because we’re focused on growing our digital platform,” Mr. Salcedo told reporters in an event in Makati City.
Security Bank’s net profit was P2.35 billion in the first quarter, down 16.6%, due to lower trading gains.
Security Bank shares rose 30 centavos or 0.15% to P199 on Friday. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal