Lucio Tan group sells US banking unit, will focus on bank consolidation in PH

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01:19 PM September 26th, 2012

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By: Doris C. Dumlao, September 26th, 2012 01:19 PM

Lucio Tan. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Lucio Tan group has sold its niche US banking platform, San Francisco-based banking unit Oceanic Bank, to First National Bank of Northern California (FNB Bancorp) while working on the consolidation of local banking interests.

The U.S. bank is 27.8 percent owned by Allied Bank while the rest is owned by various shareholders under the Lucio Tan group and some partners.

This divestment fulfills Allied Bank’s commitment to the US Federal Reserve to unload its stake in the US bank as a condition to the merger with Philippine National Bank.

In a disclosure late Tuesday, Allied Bank said FNB Bancorp. completed the acquisition of Oceanic Bank Holding, the sole shareholder of Oceanic Bank, on the same day that the merger of Oceanic Bank and FNB Bancorp was effected on Sept. 24. On this day, all branches of Oceanic reopened under the name of First National Bank of Northern California.

Oceanic Bank has been operating for more than 30 years in two offices in San Francisco and one office on the island of Guam.

The US Fed approved in October last year a voting trust agreement, which allowed Allied Bank to place shares of Oceanic Holdings in a temporary trust. The independent trustee was in charge of voting the shares of Oceanic and arranging for the sale of the shares to an unrelated third party or parties acceptable to the Federal Reserve Board. This task has now been fulfilled.

The upcoming PNB-Allied Bank merger—which had been approved by the shareholders of both banks as well as by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.—now only awaits clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After the PNB-Allied Bank merger, the combined entity is expected to fortify its position as the fourth largest privately owned domestic bank in terms of total assets. It will also have the most extensive distribution network with the largest international presence among local banks.

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