The move by Philippine financial authorities to facilitate the standards that limit the entry of foreign lenders into the nation extends the variety of banking alternatives, products and services accessible to  businesses and  individual customers.

The majority of foreign banks now working in the Philippines is a worldwide monetary leaders and have broad global scope. With the onset of the ASEAN regional integration and the easing of banking policies, Asian banks are currently beginning to to carve inroads into the Philippines.

Foreign banks with a a more extensive system of worldwide branches offer remittance options for overseas Filipinos friends and family back home.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has so far affirmed four foreign banks under Republic Act (RA) 10641 or “An Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines.” The BSP additionally said two more Asian banks have expressed interest to set up shop in the Philippines and are pending approval.

Here’s a quick look at the at the most recent banks that gained the central bank’s seal of approval  to extend their operations into the nation.

1. Cathay United Bank of Taiwan

  • Products and services: Deposits, loans and guarantees, international banking, trust and stock brokerage, overseas Chinese services, credit cards, internet banking
  • Overseas branches: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Lao, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, with representative offices in Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and the United States.

Cathay United Bank (CUB) is one of the largest commercial banks in Taiwan with $71 billion worth of assets. CUB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holding Company, the largest financial holding company in Taiwan. It is a full-service bank which caters to both consumers and businesses in over 100 branches in Taiwan and other international locations.

Prior to the BSP approval, CUB has been operating a representative office in the Philippines for more than 20 years. Company executives said branch operations will begin in the third quarter of 2015.

2. Industrial Bank of South Korea

  • Products and services: Corporate banking, private banking, retail loans, deposits, remittances, credit cards, phone banking, internet banking, foreign exchange
  • Overseas branches: China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Myanmar, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam

If you are looking at funding your startup, you can consider the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK). With more than $234 billion of assets, IBK primarily caters to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It offers creative financial solutions, like extending loans on collateral for intellectual properties. IBK has over 1.1 million corporate clients across 638 branches in South Korea. A subsidiary in China has 15 local and seven international branches, as well as three representative offices. IBK is a government-owned bank established in 1961.

3. Shinhan Bank of South Korea

  • Products and services: Retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking, treasury services, internal asset and liability management, Securities and derivatives trading, investment portfolio management, international bank services, merchant banking account, deposits, loans, investment options, internet banking, remittance
  • Overseas branches: Cambodia, Canada, China, Germany,  Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Myanmar, Poland, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam

Shinhan Bank is the second largest commercial bank in South Korea in terms of assets. It is part of the Shinhan Financial Group, a company listed on the Korea Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. It was established in 1897 as Hanseong Bank, and was the first bank in South Korea. Since it reopened in 1982, it has been operating more than 750 domestic branches, 100 depository offices, 20 premises, and 8 overseas branches.

Shinhan Bank is set to open its Manila branch by September. “The bank will apply localized business strategy based on its broad experience in the Asian region, providing various financial services to both Korean and local corporations and the Korean community in the Philippines,” CEO Cho Yong Byoung said a statement.

4. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. of  Japan

  • Products and services: Leasing, securities, credit cards, investment, venture capital, deposits, loans, insurance, wealth management, foreign exchange, remittance, M&A advisory services, cash management settlement, equity underwriting services
  • Overseas branches: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, UAE, United Kingdom, United States and Representative offices in Bahrain, Cambodia, Chile, Egypt, Iran, Mongolia, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Turkey

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) is the first foreign bank to gain the BSP’s approval in January under the revised foreign banking law. From a representative office, it is scheduled to open its first branch in Makati, offering basic services such as deposits, loans, and foreign currency trading, as well as trade financing and cash management services. It is the second largest bank in Japan in asset size at  $1.254 trillion.

SMBC has more than 400 branches in Japan with 70 international offices, and operates as a subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.

Aside from the two upgrades and two new arrivals, there are six foreign universal banks, eight commercial banks, 11 representative offices, and three offshore banking units currently operating in the Philippines, according to the BSP.

-Central Bank of the Philippines



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