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LandBank’s acquisition of postal bank seen early next year

State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines' acquisition of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB) to convert it into the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB) is seen to be finalized early next year after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) approved it to be operational.

BSP Deputy Governor for Supervision and Examination Sector Chuchi Fonacier said the Monetary Board approved LandBank's acquisition of PPSB to form the OFB two weeks ago.

"It has been approved actually. It was approved two weeks ago," Fonacier told reporters in a press briefing on Friday.

BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said the LandBank is targeting to make the OFB operational by February.

"They're targeting February... taking into account the PCC (Philippine Competition Commission) [approval]," Espenilla said.

PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said the anti-trust body will release its decision on the transaction early next year.

"Now we have the process in place, we're expecting this next year... The documents have just been submitted so we can review... We now go to Phase 1, which is a maximum of 30 days. Hopefully the process can move quickly," Balisacan said.

"Phase 1 is only 30 days. It's mandatory that we have to make an assessment for Phase 1 within a maximum of 30 days. Then if there are problems such as requiring of additional details, our rules require us to make a decision in a maximum of 90 days," Balisacan added.

In October, President Rodrigo Duterte released Executive Order No. 44, approving LandBank's acquisition of PPSB as its subsidiary which will be owned 30 percent by overseas Filipino workers.

The EO 44 also authorized PPSB's conversion into OFB, which aims to efficiently deliver microfinance and micro-insurance products and services for overseas Filipinos.

The LandBank's acquisition of the thrift bank will be through direct transfer of shareholdings of Philippine Postal Corp. and the Bureau of Treasury in PPSB to LandBank at zero value.

The PPSB is ordered to expedite the transfer of all its assets, liabilities, records, systems, and other pertinent items to LandBank. —KG, GMA News