BSP eases licensing scheme for bank operations
In a bid to promote efficiency and reduce business costs, the central bank on Monday said it would no longer require financial institutions to seek prior approval for the most basic banking operations like closing or relocating branches—part of the regulator’s broader thrust of streamlining its licensing scheme.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the move was approved by the Monetary Board in line with the thrust of applying the risk-based approach to the licensing process and promoting ease of doing business on supervised financial institutions applying for special authorities.
The guidelines classify licenses for special authorities into three categories namely, Types A, B and C licenses.
“The requirements set out for each category are proportionate to the magnitude of risks that may arise from engaging in a specific activity and take into account the capability of the [financial institutions] to manage the risks,” the BSP said.
Banks’ move to rationalize their branch networks is classified as Type C activities which no longer require prior approval since these are largely part of business decisions made to manage operations.
“The [financial institution] only needs to notify the BSP that it intends to engage in Type C activities, which include, among others, relocation of approved but unopened branches or ‘branch lite’ units, permanent closure and surrender of branch license and servicing of deposits outside bank premises,” the BSP said.
The regulator said that activities with Type A license that included establishment and sale of branches or branch lite units, equity investment in allied and non-allied undertaking, trust and other fiduciary business, among others, were likely to expose the financial institution to increased risks.
As such, applications for Type A licenses require compliance with three basic prudential criteria and prior BSP approval. These prudential criteria are Camels (capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings and liquidity) rating of at least “3”; governance and independent control functions that meet what is considered appropriate for the financial institution, and compliance with BSP directives.
These criteria are tied in with the central bank’s supervisory assessment and enforcement actions to promote good governance and effective risk management systems.
Type B license does not require compliance with the prudential criteria but shall be subject to BSP approval. Examples of activities with Type B license are conversion to a lower bank category and amendment of articles of incorporation or bylaws. These activities are related to the primary banking license granted hence, the application will be evaluated regardless of the risk profile of the financial institution.
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