George S. K. Ty, banking tycoon and visionary, 86

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star
George S. K. Ty, banking tycoon and visionary, 86
George S. K. Ty

MANILA, Philippines — “I want to help people start businesses. I want to give money.”

That sentiment prompted George S.K. Ty to apply for a banking license from the Central Bank of the Philippines. It was 1961 and he was just 28 years old.

As Ty passed away yesterday at age 86, the bank that he started, Metrobank, has become one of the country’s largest and most respected finance institutions.

A multi-awarded individual and touted as a visionary, Ty was born in Hong Kong in 1932. At age six, he was brought to Manila by his parents Norberto and Victoria Ty. They settled in Tondo.

“As a teenager in the 1950s, the young George helped his father establish and manage the fledgling Wellington Flour Mills, an early responsibility which taught him valuable business lessons that would eventually underpin his amazing journey as a banker, entrepreneur, philanthropist and exemplary Filipino,” according to his biography on the website of the Philippines-Japan Society.

In 1962, at only 29 years old, Ty founded and organized the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company with partners, fellow Filipino business trailblazers Emilio Abello, Pio Pedrosa and Placido Mapa Sr. 

“Metrobank emerged as one of the earliest Filipino banks to operate internationally, having opened its Taipei branch in the early 1970s.  When the Tokyo branch was established in March 1996, it was the first ever Philippine bank granted a banking license by the Ministry of Finance of Japan.

“Metrobank in Japan today operates offices in Tokyo and Osaka, only two of the bank’s several overseas offices in the US, China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom,” the Philippines-Japan Society also said.

He went beyond banking and transformed the bank to a diverse business conglomerate with successful joint ventures such as Toyota Motor Corp., AXA insurance and Orix Metro Leasing.

In 1988, Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsui & Co. of Japan invited Ty to be their partner in the Philippines.

“Thus was born the largest, and consistently the leading, automotive manufacturing company in the Philippines – the Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation,” the Philippines-Japan Society also said.

Ty has been de facto chairman emeritus as early as 2008 as his sons Arthur and Alfred headed the many companies in the group in his stead.

Once asked for the secret to success, Ty cited four pillars – mutual respect, trust, transparency and fairness. “With these four principles, you can’t go wrong in business,” he said.

He was recognized not only for his exemplary achievements in business but also for his generous philanthropy through the Metrobank Foundation.

Among his most notable awards and recognitions are: the MVP Bossing Awards from tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan just last month; Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star conferred by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Matsukaze-no-Ma, Imperial Palace in Tokyo, 2017; Presidential Order of Lakandula in 2010; Management Man of the Year 2006 from the Management Association of the Philippines; and Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asian Banking Awards in 2000.

“Banking is not merely the business of money, but is really the business of trust. A proper banker loves the business and protects the interests of people and serves the community,” he once said.

His commitment to contribute to the Philippines’ economic prosperity as well as to nation-building will continue to be lived by the Metrobank Group.

“It has been my life’s greatest honor to work alongside you towards achieving success for generation after generation. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” Ty said in the statement sent by Metrobank.

Memorial services will start on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 at the Heritage Park, Taguig City. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Philippine Red Cross, CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation and Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation will honor his spirit of generosity and memory, Metrobank said. – Lawrence Agcaoili, Doreen Yu



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