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BDO widens SME reach with Bulacan rural bank purchase

/ 05:05 AM February 12, 2019

The rural banking arm of the country’s leading lender BDO Unibank has signed a deal to acquire 52-year-old Rural Bank of Pandi Inc. (RBPI) in a bid to expand its reach to small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bulacan.

With this transaction, BDO’s One Network Bank Inc. (ONB) is seen to establish a “stronger presence in the province and fast-track its expansion in Central Luzon, one of the most progressive areas in the country.”

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The deal is still subject to closing conditions and applicable regulatory approvals, BDO disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.

The Andres and Santos families founded RBPI in 1967, since then building the institution into what BDO describes as “one of the best performing rural banks with a strong SME presence in the province of Bulacan, where it currently has 10 branches.”

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The town of Pandi in Bulacan, about 40 kilometers away from Manila, is composed of 22 barangays or barrios with a total population of more or less 60,000 people. It has a total land area of 3,290 hectares, mostly dedicated to agriculture.

As of end-June 2018, RBPI has total assets of P1.31 billion, a loan book of P775.68 million and a deposit base of P1.05 billion.

BDO acquired ONB, the country’s leading rural bank, from the Consunji family in 2015. At that time, ONB was focused on the Mindanao region.

A proponent of “inclusive” banking, ONB has SME clients as well as microbanking offices in the Mindanao and Panay areas.

Late last year, BDO signed an agreement to sell 15 percent of ONB to Osmanthus Investment Holdings Pte. Ltd., a unit of Singapore-based private equity firm Archipelago Capital Partners Pte. Ltd.

Osmanthus has been helping ONB in developing a framework for its micro/small and medium enterprise (MSME) lending business, leading to the establishment of the initial pilot test sites before the end of 2017.

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