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The Good News

Metrobank: Bridging Pinoys worldwide

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MANILA, Philippines - In 1962, Metrobank was founded by a group of businessmen led by Dr. George S.K. Ty.   It set up its first office in the Wellington Building fronting the historic Plaza Calderon in Binondo, Manila, the center of commerce at the time. Its initial years of operation were met with stiff competition from older and more established commercial banks. Anchored on the principle of banking as a business of trust, Metrobank strengthened its position by nurturing relationships with its customers.

Finding insights from the relationships it had built with its clients, Metrobank sought to bring banking to the people, especially in the countryside. It pioneered branch banking, then an innovative concept which other banks feared to undertake. It established its first branch at the center of trade in Divisoria in 1963, moving on to open more branches each year.

Right from the onset, it was clear that the goal of Metrobank is to be with the people. For this reason, it established a network that covered the entire archipelago, from Aparri to Jolo.

During the earlier years when technology was yet to flourish, Metrobank took extraordinary measures just to be able to serve clients in the provinces. In Aparri, for instance, to do a client call, employees had to cross rivers to get from town to town. In Basilan, they had to travel by boat from Zamboanga in order to supply the cash needs of the branch.

Crossing oceans to serve Filipinos

As early as 1970, Metrobank already set its sights overseas, building its first international bank in Taipei. It was the first Philippine bank ever to be licensed by the Taiwan government, and the only Philippine bank present in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. The bank went from crossing rivers to crossing oceans to serve the Filipino. In fact, employees in foreign Metrobank branches are Pinoys themselves.

Ramon P. Nicdao, general manager of the Metrobank Remittance Center, Hawaii, says most Filipinos working in the US, or other countries for that matter, grab the opportunity to work abroad to earn money, but eventually they go back to the Philippines when they have enough savings, or when they retire.

“I’ve been assigned in Taiwan and now I’m here in the US, for Metrobank. Both stints involved a lot of adjustment just to fit in with the culture of the foreign country, but working at Metrobank feels like being at home – it’s an honor to be of service to fellow Filipinos,” says Nicdao.

He recounts the fulfillment he feels from being able to help a fellow Pinoy. “One goal of most OFWs here is to petition or bring their families or loved ones to the US. Part of the process involved is providing proof of the relationship between the OFW and the person being petitioned. A ‘remittance certification’ is one such proof, which Metrobank is able to provide to them upon request.” 

He continues, “Once the petition is approved, they come back to thank me. It may seem like a small deed, but it is something that they are very grateful for.”

Nicdao adds that even the day-to-day transactions that Metrobank conducts are appreciated by the OFWs. “Metrobank provides safe, efficient, and reliable remittance services. We make sure that the hard-earned cash sent by our customers – our OFWs – safely reaches their families back home. In a way, Metrobank connects the Filipinos here to their loved ones in the Philippines. The remittance is like a message saying, ‘I care about you. I want our family to have a bright future.’”

Mario E. Ramirez, head of the Metrobank Pusan, Korea branch, finds serving Filipinos abroad rewarding as well. “We know how difficult it is to be away from family and loved ones. So we make it our mission to ensure that their hard work does not go to waste, by making sure that the fruits of their labor reach their loved ones safely and on time.”

“But more than providing our OFWs a reliable remittance service, Metrobank serves as their link to the Philippines. Metrobank is the only Philippine bank here in Korea. It is like a second or third home for them, being with fellow Pinoys who experience the same thing that they are going through.”

He further narrates that Filipinos in Korea have established a camaraderie and friendship from their shared experience as OFWs. “We don’t just talk about money or remittance. We share personal stories as well,” he says. “Listening to them air their sentiments about the difficulty of working abroad and being away from their loved ones, somehow helps ease their loneliness.”

Ramirez shares his own experience as an OFW. “Being an OFW is difficult. Living alone, away from my family, is even harder. My youngest child was only three years old when I left for Korea, but now she’s 16. I missed her years growing up.”

He says there may be sacrifices, but there are also merits to being an OFW. “Knowing I can give my family a better life, give my children better education and hence, better future, is the ultimate reward. I just remind myself about this always, and I can go on with my life working away from home.”

You’re in Good Hands

Over the years, Metrobank has maintained a unique brand of service reflected by the promise, “You’re in good hands.” Whether here or abroad, Filipinos know that Metrobank is not just a bank – it’s a bank that they can trust their hard-earned money with, a bank that they can depend on when it comes to their family’s future.

As branch head of Metrobank Korea, Ramirez gets to talk to a lot of OFWs. “Dealing everyday with fellow Filipinos/OFWs is a rewarding and memorable experience in itself because I get to help them not only in remitting their money, but also with some of their personal problems,” he adds, “They find a good listener in me and it is heartwarming because they trust me, not just as the head of our Metrobank branch, but more importantly, as a friend.”

Over the years, Metrobank has furthered its commitment to serving Filipinos by creating innovative products and services to improve each family’s financial capabilities and way of life. More importantly, Metrobank has provided jobs to many OFWs, as well as bridged Filipinos overseas to their loved ones here in the Philippines.

BANK

DR. GEORGE S

FILIPINOS

GOOD HANDS

METROBANK

NICDAO

OFWS

RAMIREZ

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