Philippines to ease bank merger rules to spur consolidation

Manila Bay, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Eugenio Pastoral/unsplash

Philippine financial regulators agreed on Friday to streamline documentary requirements and cut by two-thirds the processing time of bank mergers and acquisitions, in an effort to encourage consolidation in a sector crowded by small lenders.

The country’s banking industry, while small in its entirety, is overcrowded with more than 500 banks, mostly rural lenders, operating across the archipelago of 7,600 islands.

Regulators have for years been pushing them to consolidate.

The top 10 universal banks in the Philippines had $303 billion in combined assets as of end-June, equivalent to just two-thirds of the total assets of Singapore’s DBS Bank, government data show.

The new rules agreed by the central bank, the securities regulator and anti-monopoly agency will reduce documentary requirements of M&A proposals to 30 from 58, and cut processing time to 55 business days from an average of 160 days.

“We acknowledge that mergers, consolidations and acquisitions can catalyse innovation in any industry, including banking, because of combined resources and expertise,” Arsenio Balisacan, head of the county’s competition commission, said in a joint statement.

In a country where half of the 110 million population does not use a bank, the Philippines is keen to develop the lending sector, worth $387 billion in assets, to drive future economic growth.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.