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BPI eyes Citiâs retail business
Newly installed BPI president and chief executive officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said in a virtual press briefing that the Philippines is the star of the Citibank retail network globally.
Philstar.com/Deejae Dumlao, file

BPI eyes Citi’s retail business

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has expressed interest in the retail banking business of Citigroup Inc., a move that would double its consumer banking business.

Newly installed BPI president and chief executive officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said in a virtual press briefing that the Philippines is the star of the Citibank retail network globally.

“People have reached out to us to tell us what the plans are for the Philippines. It’s quite public knowledge that they will exit and that they will try to sell the business. We have told them that as soon as there is any information, to send us the information and we will take a look at it,” Limcaoco said.

The New York-based bank giant announced last week it was exiting the retail banking landscape in the Philippines and 12 other markets in Asia as well as the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region as it decided to focus its global consumer bank presence in Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and London.

“We have always been admirers of the Citibank retail business. It is an excellent franchise,” Limcaoco said.

He noted that the customer profile in the retail banking side of Citi and BPI is “very similar.”

“People go to Citi because of the name and the trust that they have in the institution. I think that is our biggest advantage also, that BPI clearly has the best name in the Philippines. So it’s very complementary,” Limcaoco said.

Jojo Ocampo, executive vice president and head of the mass retail segment at BPI, said the 170-year-old bank is very much interested in the retail banking portfolio of Citi in the Philippines.

“We like the Citibank portfolio a lot.  We like the quality of their portfolio, we like the talent, and we like the technology,” Ocampo said.

“On a combined basis, if you put BPI and Citibank portfolio, we will almost double the BPI business. So yes, we’re very keen on looking at the Citibank business,” he said.

The American banking giant is keeping its wholesale banking operations as part of the strategic refocus. Citi Philippines’ Institutional Clients Group is a recognized leader in arranging and providing financial services for the public sector, top-tier Filipino corporates, multinationals, and financial institutions operating in the country.

BPI’s stockholders approved the planned merger between BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank Inc. during their virtual meeting yesterday. Also approved was the planned hike in capitalization to P50.6 billion.

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