BSP OKs entry of Taiwan’s First Commercial Bank
MANILA — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the application of Taiwan’s First Commercial Bank to become the eighth foreign lender to fully operate in the country.
BSP Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla confirmed in a text message to reporters Wednesday that the the policy-making Monetary Board gave its go-ahead to the third Taiwanese bank to establish its presence here.
The BSP earlier allowed the following foreign lenders, all Asian banks, to operate in the country: Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.; Singapore’s United Overseas Bank Ltd.; South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea, and Woori Bank; as well as Taiwan’s Cathay United Bank and Yuanta Commercial Bank Co. Ltd.
On its website, First Commercial Bank said it has been operating for over a century , since its establishment in 1899 as the Savings Bank of Taiwan before it merged with a number of other Taiwanese lenders.
In 1998, it was transformed from being a government bank into a private lender, and in 2003 became the flagship subsidiary of the Taiwan Stock Exchange-listed First Financial Holding Co. Ltd.
“As of September 2015, the bank’s capital was NT$86.244 billion. In terms of total assets and Tier 1 capital, it ranked among the world’s top 200 banks,” First Commercial Bank’s website read.
“[First Commercial Bank] currently has approximately 7,298 employees and 190 domestic branches. Overseas, there are 32 global networks (18 branches, five sub-branches, two representative offices, and one subsidiary with seven branches) in major international metropolitan areas and financial centers to provide a full range of service and satisfy the operating need of overseas Taiwanese enterprises,” it added.
Espenilla said the BSP was still evaluating the application of another Asian bank.
In 2014, outgoing President Aquino signed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 10641, which allowed the full entry of foreign banks.
Under RA 10641, foreign lenders can compose a maximum of 40 percent of the banking industry’s assets. Espenilla had said foreign banks account for just less than 11 percent of the industry’s total assets as of mid-2015. SFM