150 bank branches opened in Q4

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Banks in the country are on an expansion mode, with commercial, thrift, and rural banks opening 150 new branches in the fourth quarter of 2012.

This was according to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which expects the country’s banking network to grow even bigger over the short term.

This is because in the last three months of 2012, the BSP approved applications from banks for the establishment of 182 more new branches.

Industry players said banks in the country were bullish on the economy, and they intended to take advantage of potentially higher incomes from increased demand for financial services by being present in more locations.

Data from the BSP showed that of the 150 new bank branches that opened in the fourth quarter, 105 were owned by universal and commercial banks, 36 by thrift banks, and 9 by rural and cooperative banks.

Of the universal and commercial banks, East West Bank was the most aggressive in expanding, accounting for 60 of the total number of new branches that opened during the period.

It was followed by Security Bank, which opened 17 new branches, and by Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., which opened 9 new branches.

In the meantime, of the approved applications for the opening of 182 more branches, 105 are accounted for by universal and commercial banks, 44 by thrift banks, and 33 by rural and cooperative banks.

Among the universal and commercial banks, East West Bank is expected to open the most number of bank branches over the short term as it accounted for 42 of the total number of approved applications.

China Bank followed, accounting for 35 approved applications while Asia United Bank came in third with approved applications of seven. Michelle V. Remo

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