Liberalized rules boosts number of banks, branches
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas indicates that the number of banks and branches operating in the Philippines increased by 3.6 percent in the first quarter of the year caused by the BSP’s lifting of branching restrictions.
BSP figures showed that the number of banks and branch offices numbered 9,186 as of end-March this year, 316 more than the 8,870 recorded in end-March last year.
The number of banks and branches in the first quarter of the year was also 136 more than the 7,422 recorded in end-2011.
By banking classification, the number of head offices universal and commercial banks reached 38 followed by thrift banks with 71, and rural banks with 614.
Branches of universal and commercial banks reached 4,866 followed by thrift banks with 1,474, and rural banks with 2,123.
However, the BSP reported that the number of banking institutions fell to 723 as of end-March this year from 746 as of end-March last year. The number as of end-March was also three less than the 726 number of banks booked as of end-December due to the closure of three banks in the first quarter.
The BSP’s Monetary Board issued Circular No. 759 last May 30 giving banks operating in the Philippines the go-ahead to establish as many branches all over the country as long as their capital could support it.
Also, the BSP adopted a liberalization program through Circular 728 in June 2011 creating an opportunity for second-tier universal and commercial banks and thrift banks that have less than 200 branches to establish branches in the former “restricted” areas of Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, and San Juan.
These circulars were enacted as part of the government’s efforts to serve the unbanked sector. — DVM, GMA News
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