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Gokongwei may soon have a unibank

The Gokongwei group is keen on upgrading commercial banking arm Robinsons Bank into a universal bank and pursuing an initial public offering within the next five years.

Robinsons Bank is also not closing its doors on a prospective partnership with a foreign bank that can add value to the bank, said Lance Gokongwei, chair of Robinsons Bank and chief executive officer of parent conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc.

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The Gokongwei group seeks to make Robinsons Bank a more significant player in the banking industry with the infusion of P3 billion in fresh capital this July.

The fresh capital will allow Robinsons Bank to meet the P15-billion minimum capital required by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for a bank to operate a network of over 100 branches.

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To upgrade into a universal bank, the bank will need to further jack up its capital to P20 billion and embark on an initial public offering.

“I think we should get there the next five years. We should be a universal bank,” Gokongwei said.

The upgrade in license will give Robinsons Bank leeway to set up new businesses, like insurance brokerage.

At present, Robinsons Bank is seeking authority to raise its capital to as much as P27 billion. By 2020, the vision is to grow its total resources to P200 billion from an estimated P130 billion by yearend.

“We cannot stay a commercial bank,” said Robinsons Bank president Elfren Antonio Sarte said.

“Right now we’re focusing on strengthening the core income because a part of the (requirement to get a) unibank license is we have to be publicly listed. We’re trying to make sure that the recurring income is strong so that once we list, the investors will be confident in buying our shares,” he added.

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TAGS: Business, Gokongwei group, Robinsons Bank
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