BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, Philippines

The Philippines’ 2nd largest bank is expanding

Adding 50 more branches will bring the branch network of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) to over 800, the largest in the Philippines.

Metrobank, a universal bank that also owns Philippine Savings Bank (the second largest savings bank), will locate all the 50 new branches in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Its national branch network currently consists of 770 branches and 1,500 automated teller machines. The bank also has 38 foreign branches, subsidiaries and representative offices.

“We will be concentrating and strengthening more our presence in the countryside, especially in Visayas and Mindanao, where strong growth is coming from,” said Chairman and Group Vice Chairman Antonio Abacan, Jr.

He said the expansion into Southern Philippines was being driven by the country’s robust banking sector and the strong domestic economy.

“We believe that one way to improve our local economy is to put up more branches, especially in the countryside.” He noted that expansion creates jobs and that up to US$230,000 might be invested to open a single branch.

Metrobank’s income for the first nine months of 2011 hit US$207 million, a 48% increase year-on-year. Its lending grew double-digit across the corporate, middle market and SME and consumer sectors.

Abacan believes Metrobank can sustain or exceed its growth given the Philippines’ vigorous domestic demand and profitable services sector.

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