BPI sets merger with thrift arm to create 3rd largest bank
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, BPI said it hopes to integrate with its wholly-owned subsidiary BPI Family Savings Bank before the end of the year, with the former serving as the surviving entity.

BPI sets merger with thrift arm to create 3rd largest bank

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - January 20, 2021 - 8:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala Corp. is fortifying its banking business by merging Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) with its savings arm that once concluded would create the country’s third largest bank in asset terms.

In a disclosure, BPI announced absorbing BPI Family Savings Bank to its fold and would proceed securing regulatory and shareholder approvals. The target is to complete the merger this year, with BPI as the surviving entity. 

The move, BPI said, will “prime the Bank to seize emerging opportunities and ultimately enhance the overall banking experience of customers,” the bank said on Wednesday.

“The integration of both entities will provide considerable advantages to the customers and employees of BPI and BFSB, and present potential synergies that will benefit shareholders,” BPI said.

The transaction comes at a tumultuous time for the banking sector reeling from rising bad loans and growing hesitation among themselves to grow their loan portfolio. Generating savings appeared to be a factor for Ayala’s decision, saying having a stand-alone bank also saves up reserve requirement costs.

Once completed, BPI would overtake Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. as the third largest bank in asset terms. As per central bank data as of September last year, BPI’s assets would grow to P2.19 trillion once the merger is finalized, up from P1.88 trillion end-September.

BPI Family, as it is, is the country’s largest thrift bank with P305.58 billion in assets in end-September, central bank data showed.

The Ayala-led lender would also boost its deposits to P1.67 trillion with BPI Family deposits, up from P1.42 trillion from as of September last year. It would place behind BDO Unibank Inc.’s P2.52 trillion and Land Bank of the Philippines’ P1.98 trillion.

At the same time, BPI would also be swallowing its thrift arm’s outstanding loans that would grow to P1.39 trillion, next only to BDO Unibank’s. Capitalization, based on end-September figures, would rise to P313.57 billion.

Once the merger is completed, the bank said all its 8.5 million customers will be under one roof. In terms of management, 3,000 BPI Family employees would likewise be absorbed. 

BPI made the announcement a few hours after the stock market closed. On Wednesday, shares in BPI fell 1.54% to close at P83.20 each, tracking a downturn in the main index.

“This merger has the best interests of our customers and employees in mind,” Cezar Consing, BPI’s president and chief executive, said.

“Similarly, as One BPI, our employees will have the ability to work across a larger, more varied bank, while having continuity of tenure and job level,” he added.

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