BIZ BUZZ: Shell-shocked Magallanes Village
Many Filipinos who tuned in to the House of Representatives’ hearing on the allegedly overpriced procurement of COVID-19 supplies by the government from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. were shocked to hear more details about the controversial deals that cost taxpayers billions of pesos during a time of great economic hardship.
But perhaps even more surprised were some residents of Magallanes Village in Makati City, whose collective jaws dropped during the online testimony of former Palace economic adviser Michael Yang, who said some personalities helped him secure the lucrative supply deal from the government.
When asked by a lawmaker to identify these friends, Yang rattled off a list of names including a certain “Miao Miao” (presumably just the person’s given name, and not the full name, by Chinese naming convention).
Now, Magallanes Village is abuzz with one question: Is that person the same tenant who has been causing the posh neighborhood grief during the last few months?
Biz Buzz earlier wrote about the problems faced by the Magallanes Village Association, which has been trying—with limited success—to get some of its mainland Chinese tenants to comply with basic homeowners’ association rules, like limiting one residence to one family, prohibiting the use of houses for other purposes like a busy 24/7 commissary and staff house, or trying to bring in unregistered guests or residents, often on the sly and in violation of government curfew rules.
One Magallanes Village home in question was leased out to a certain Wang Miao Miao, who has been cited by the village authorities for several violations. But instead of obtaining compliance, law enforcers and lawmakers were sicced on the association, leaving many residents wondering just how powerful and well connected this person is.
And, thus, their sudden curiosity about the name Yang dropped during his testimony.
“No wonder Miao Miao Wang is so aggressive with us!” exclaimed one of the village officials who has been on the receiving end of the Chinese tenants’ pushback—through lawmakers—against the enforcement of association rules.
The question now is: Are those two Miao Miaos one and the same person? And, if so, what other forces can she bring to bear against the shell-shocked Magallanes Village Association? Abangan!
—Daxim L. Lucas
“Sheer resilience during tough times.”
Thus said Asiamoney editor Rashmi Kumar in her description of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. after the international financial publication named the Ty family-controlled banking giant as the Philippines best domestic bank for 2021.
She noted that Metrobank, with chair Arthur Ty and president and CEO Fabian Dee at the helm, has exhibited “strong growth year after year” in its almost six decades of existence and, more impressively, produced solid numbers last year amid the coronavirus pandemic that brought the local economy to its knees.
“Metrobank went the extra mile to address its clients’ needs, which proved to be one of its main secrets to success, so much so that deposits, net interest income and noninterest income all rose last year,” Kumar said.
More importantly, Kumar said that under Dee’s leadership, the bank leveraged off technology to increase interaction with its clients, launching webinars to educate and inform customers about how to manage their money, or rolling out additional features to make online banking easier, or even deploying mobile ATMs to reach more corners of the country.
“Metrobank did it all,” she said.
But it wasn’t all about making money for Metrobank. Along with the other companies of the Ty conglomerate—now run by the Ty-blings, Arthur and Alfred—the financial giant ramped up its corporate social responsibility efforts at the height of the pandemic, partnering with charitable institutions, health-care institutions and national and local government agencies to bring health-care equipment and supplies and basic goods to the underprivileged people who were hard hit by the crisis.
Few people know, of course, that Metrobank recently slid to number three in the official ranking of the country’s biggest banks by assets, ceding the second spot to Land Bank of the Philippines. But Biz Buzz understands that this is mainly because of the central bank loans to the national government and the government securities that are lodged in Landbank’s books to support the pandemic spending program.
But in terms of asset quality, Metrobank remains the superior financial institution.
Indeed, the bank may have kept a relatively low profile during the raging pandemic in the last 18 months, but its good numbers and its good works have not escaped the eagle eyes of the banking community, locally and overseas.
With the solid springboard provided by these gains, the inevitable question is: What’s next for Metrobank? Abangan!
—Daxim L. Lucas and Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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