RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Philippines

Fast CBA deals helps boost our growth—BPI

Industrial peace make the lender rake in more profits amid fierce competition in the industry.

Ayala-owned Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has kept its leadership position as the country’s most profitable bank, posting a net income of P11.3 billion ($264.2 million) in 2010 – the first time any bank achieved double-digit growth in the area.

One of the secrets behind its sustained growth: industrial peace.

BPI president Aurelio Luis Montinola III said this growth ingredient is becoming even more essential as the local banking industry becomes more competitive.

"It has become a very competitive banking environment. And if we are to move towards the right direction, we need to help each other in this regard," he said.

The pronouncement came on the heels of the record-breaking signing of collective bargaining agreements (CBA) between BPI management and its unions. The Bank has the most number of labor unions in the local industry, primarily due to the spate of mergers and acquisitions that enabled BPI to expand its presence and sustain its leadership.

From negotiations in the past that lasted up to 10 months, the 2011 cycle, which will cover a five-year period, was finalized in less than two – the fastest in BPI’s history and potentially in the entire industry and a milestone that coincided with the Bank’s 160th anniversary this year.

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