The loss of banking and business magnate Dr. George S.K. Ty is being felt in all the corners of the Philippine business community.

Though chiefly known as the titan who founded the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank), the country’s second largest bank, Dr. Ty held various roles that extended to industries like insurance, automotive, and property. GT Capital Holdings, Inc., where he served as chairman emeritus and group chairman, is one of the largest conglomerates listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Under GT Capital are companies that are market leaders through their own right, like Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., Federal Land, Inc., Property Company of Friends, Inc., Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Toyota Financial Services Philippines Corp., and Toyota Manila Bay Corp. In all of which Dr. Ty played integral roles, one way or another.

The enduring quality and influence of such companies are a testament to the values that Dr. Ty imbued in all his work. None more so than Metrobank. When he founded Metrobank alongside colleagues in September 1962, he did so pursuant to a mission of serving the Filipino-Chinese community, acting as the established lender of businesses needed to take off  during a time when securing loans for local enterprises was a difficult affair.

It was never an easy journey. As a 29-year-old Chinese-Filipino businessman, whose primary experience had been managing his family’s already-successful flour business, there was a lot he needed to learn.

“What do I know about banking? I’ve never worked in a bank, so nobody would help us so we had a hard time… but I said I would put up a bank and to be the biggest one day, I put up Metrobank,” Dr. Ty once said.

Through persistence and a willingness to give back to the community that he served, he led Metrobank to become a premier universal bank and one of the foremost financial institutions in the Philippines. From a small local bank in Manila, Metrobank soon expanded beyond the country’s shores only a few years after its establishment. Its first international branch opened in Taipei in 1970 and a representative office launched in Hong Kong in 1973. In 1975, Metrobank became the first of the private banks to move into American territory when it opened its office in Guam. It later established branches in the United States mainland cities of Los Angeles and New York, and continued its growth from there.

Metrobank now offers a full range of banking and other financial products and services, including corporate, commercial and consumer banking, as well as credit card, remittances, leasing, investment banking and trust banking. Metrobank currently spans a consolidated network of over 2,300 ATMs nationwide, over 950 domestic branches, and over 30 foreign branches, subsidiaries, and representative offices.

Never losing focus of his initial mission to give back to his community, Dr. Ty also founded the Metrobank Foundation, which emerged as one of the country’s most active corporate philanthropic organizations and one of the biggest nonprofit organizations in the Philippines. The foundation aims to help with sustaining and developing education, arts and culture, health in the country, as well as recognizing excellence in key professions and providing services for the underprivileged and marginalized sectors of society.

In affecting and improving so much of the Philippine landscape, Dr. Ty leaves the world far better than when he found it. He will be missed. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran