LENDING & CREDIT | Tony Chua, Philippines

EastWest Bank engages in microfinance via M&A

The Philippine central bank allowed the lender to convert up to 41 of the 46 Green Bank branches.

East West Banking Corp. (EastWest Bank) is acquiring the Green Bank of Caraga, gaining an entry into the lucrative microfinance business.

In a statement, EastWest Bank said it has obtained the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the purchase. It still needs to get the green light of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is another a milestone for EastWest Bank as this acquisition marks our full entry into the small and microfinance arena,” EastWest Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Antonio C. Moncupa was quoted as saying in the statement.

EastWest, seventeenth largest in asset terms as of the first quarter, said it “plans to pursue the successful microfinance model of Green Bank even as it plans to integrate most of Green Bank’s branches into EastWest.”

Mr. Moncupa told BusinessWorld through a text message on Monday, “At this point, we don’t know yet the exact number of Green Bank branches that will be converted to EastWest Bank branches, but we have the approval [from the BSP] to convert up to 41 of the 46 Green Bank branches.”

EastWest, the banking arm of the Gotianun’s Filinvest Development Corp., is focused on the consumer banking business while Green Bank, as most rural banks, is engaged in microfinance, which involves the entension of loans to the poor.

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