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Phl most improved in Asean in bank liberalization â Fitch
“The Philippines has taken the biggest steps toward banking sector liberalization, removing the cap on foreign ownership of banks in 2014,” Fitch said in a report on the status of banking integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
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Phl most improved in Asean in bank liberalization – Fitch

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has taken the biggest steps toward banking sector liberalization among Southeast Asian countries, international credit rating agency Fitch Ratings said yesterday.

“The Philippines has taken the biggest steps toward banking sector liberalization, removing the cap on foreign ownership of banks in 2014,” Fitch said in a report on the status of banking integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Fitch said foreign banks since then have started to enter the Philippine market, a move which is seen to boost the economic growth of the country.

“The larger Philippine banks have sufficient access to capital and have little immediate need to sell major stakes to foreign investors, but foreign banks have established their own subsidiaries and branches in the country,” Fitch said.

“Entry by foreign banks is likely to support investment and economic growth in the near term by helping to fund much? needed infrastructure investment,” it said.

Former president Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10641 in July 2014 amending the foreign banks law by removing the limit of foreign banks in the country.

Nine foreign banks have already entered the Philippines.

These are the First Commercial Bank of Taiwan, Sumitomo Mitsui of Japan, Shinhan Bank of South Korea, Cathay United Bank of Taiwan, the Industrial Bank of Korea, Yuanta Bank of Taiwan, the United Overseas Bank Ltd. of Singapore, Seoul-based Woori Bank and Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd. of Taiwan.

Six more foreign banks have expressed interest to set up shop in the country.

According to Fitch, fewer barriers on cross border bank ownership provides a wider pool of investors, especially for undercapitalized banking systems.

“Foreign capital could also support growth in large markets with low ? but rising ? banking penetration, such as the Philippines and Indonesia,” Fitch said.

In its report, Fitch said member countries of ASEAN have made “slow and uneven” progress toward regional integration in the banking sector.

“Further moves are likely to remain gradual, and full regional financial integration looks like a very distant goal,” Fitch said.

Fitch said it expects increased foreign ownership to support access to the latest risk management systems and financial technology, as well as improve governance in the long term.

Southeast Asian countries in December 2014 endorsed the ASEAN banking integration framework (ABIF), which was envisioned to allow ASEAN banks to operate freely in the region.

The framework recognizes that some countries are more ready to open up its banking system than others, and that regional integration could cause financial risks to spill across borders if the right regulatory institutions are not in place.

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
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