Southeast Asia’s Oldest Bank Still Into Brick and Mortar Outlets

(Bloomberg) -- While many lenders are shifting more into digital channels, Bank of the Philippine Islands is still building brick and mortar branches, according to its President Cezar Consing.

“We need both high tech and high touch,” Consing told reporters at the opening of BPI’s new flagship outlet in Makati City on Thursday. “We’re trying to balance digital with brick and mortar,” he said, as older Filipinos still prefer dealing with a bank personnel.

For Southeast Asia’s oldest bank, it also pays to keep “high quality face-to-face interactions” with clients, Consing said. The 168-year-old lender has been building 20 branches a year to about 860. It will expand its 2,943-square meter main branch by another 179 square meters by December 2020.

Key Points

  • Philippines is averaging 9 or 10 bank branches per one hundred thousand people compared with 12 to 14 in other countries in the region, supporting the need for more outlets, said Consing who also heads Bankers Association of the Philippines.
  • Loan growth this year is a little slower than previous years, he said. There might be an acceleration in demand as the central bank cuts banks’ reserve requirement ratio.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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