BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, Philippines

Philippine banks open 211 branches in Q1

Permits greater access to formal financial services.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank, shows that the total of new bank branches in the first quarter was more than double the 97 applications in the same period last year.

Among banks granted licenses to open new branches were 10 universal and commercial, five thrift, and seven rural and cooperative banks.

Among the major banks that opened new branches were BDO Unibank Inc., the Philippines’ largest lender, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Philippine National Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Security Bank Corp., Maybank Philippines and Asia United Bank.

Apart from regular branches, the BSP also gave the green light for the opening of 10 other banking offices and 10 microbanking offices.

Latest data from the BSP showed that local financial institutions had 27,211 offices throughout the country. About 63% of these were pawnshops. Banks had a network of 9,477 offices at the end of March compared to 17,408 pawnshops.

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