EastWest Bank acquires largest rural bank in Caraga
Media Title: www.abs-cbnnews.com
Section: Business
Date: 23 August 2011

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Gotianun-led EastWest Bank received approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to acquire Green Bank, the biggest rural bank in the Caraga region.

"We intend to create synergies in the branch channel by finding areas of cooperation between the two banks within the regulatory framework. We think that over time, it will be optimal to integrate most of the Green Bank branches into EastWest even as Green Bank continues to pursue its focus to serve small and micro enterprises,” said EastWest president and CEO Antonio C. Moncupa, Jr., in a statement on Tuesday.

The acquisition will add nearly P3 billion to EastWest Bank's consolidated assets.

Moncupa said the successful micro-finance model of Green Bank will be continued. However, there are plans to integrate most of its 46 branches all over the country into EastWest. This is expected to give a boost to EastWest's existing network of 117 branches.

With its acquisition of Green Bank, “EastWest Bank will be able to provide this under served segment wider access to innovative products and delivery channels,” Moncupa said.

EastWest Bank has been aggressive in acquisitions. In 2003, it acquired all rights, businesses, assets and liabilities of Ecology Savings Bank, Inc., and in 2009, it bought AIG Philam Savings Bank (AIGPASB).

As of the first half of the year, EastWest has assets of P83.1 billion and capitalization of P9.7 billion. It achieved a return-on-equity ratio of 18.1%, one of the highest in the industry.

EastWest Bank is a subsidiary of listed property developer Filinvest Development Corp., founded by Andrew L. Gotianun, Sr. in 1955.

The Butuan City-based Green Bank has been providing financial products and services to rural communities. The bank merged with the Rural Bank of Alegria in 2000, becoming the largest rural bank in the Caraga region. It joined BancNet in 2006, being one of three banks that joined a major interbank network.Aside from its 46 branches, Green Bank has 94 kiosks around the country.