World’s largest bank to open in the Philippines

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing-based Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank in terms of assets with $3.47 trillion, is setting up shop in the Philippines after a failed entry almost 10 years ago.

A source said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the application of ICBC to put up a branch in the country. It first visited the Philippines in 2008 to scout for a local partner.

It is the first Chinese and 12th foreign bank given the green light to open a branch in the Philippines since the banking industry was fully liberalized through the signing of Republic Act 10641 by former president Benigno Aquino III in July 2014.

ICBC has established institutions in 45 countries and regions and a global network covering six continents and all major international financial centers.

Just last December, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority allowed ICBC to establish its Zurich Branch to further improve the bank’s international business network and enhance its global financial service capability.

ICBC is the world’s largest bank in terms of assets with $3.47 trillion followed by China Construction Bank Corp. with $3.01 trillion, Agricultural Bank of China with $2.81 trillion, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group of Japan with $2.63 trillion, and Bank of China with $2.61 trillion.

It was established in January 1984 and has developed into one of the top large listed banks in the world, possessing an excellent customer base, a diversified business structure, strong innovation capabilities and market competitiveness and providing comprehensive financial products and services.

In 2006, ICBC has been successfully listed in both cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong simultaneously.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier earlier said more foreign banks are planning to set up branches and representative offices in the Philippines on the back of the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

Prior to ICBC, the BSP has allowed 11 foreign banks to open branches in the Philippines since the industry was fully opened up to foreigners.

These are Taiwan’s Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd., Cathay United Bank, Yuanta Bank, First Commercial Bank, and Chang Hwa Bank Commercial Bank Ltd.; Korea’s Shinhan Bank, the industrial Bank of Korea, and Woori Bank; Sumitomo Mitsui of Japan; United Overseas Bank Ltd. of Singapore, and CIMB Bank of Malaysia.

Likewise, a total of 11 foreign banks have established liaison offices in the country. These are State Bank of India, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank Ltd, Wells Fargo Bank, Korea Development Bank, Bank of Singapore Ltd., DBS Bank Ltd, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Rothschild (Singapore) Ltd., The Bank of New York Mellon, Korea Eximbank, and UBS AG.

State-run Bank of Taiwan and Zurich-based Credit Suisse are also looking at establishing representative offices in the country.

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