BSP approves 13 bank branches in Q3 2022

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the application of four big banks and one rural bank to set up 13 new regular branches or banking offices in the third quarter of 2022.

The BSP, based on a Jan. 19 circular signed by BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier, also approved 82 branch lite units (BLUs) which was applied for by four rural banks.

Fonacier in the memo noted that majority of bank applications for new offices and BLUs were from the country’s biggest bank, BDO Unibank Inc., and its rural bank subsidiary, BDO Network Bank, and investment bank unit, BDO Private Bank.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) logo

The other commercial banks that applied for new banking offices were Security Bank Corp. and state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines.

The approved regular branches for the third quarter was higher compared to the previous quarter of only five.

Meanwhile, Fonacier said there were 10 regular branches that opened in the third quarter, 35 BLUs, two microfinance-oriented banks, and two digital bank head offices.

The difference between regular branches and branch-lite units is that the latter have limited banking activities but could provide a wide range of products and services suited for servicing the needs of the market except for sophisticated clients with aggressive risk tolerance.

Regular branches are full-sized banks, mostly traditional brick and mortar branches or contained within a building and offers full banking services.

China Banking Corp. opened one regular branch in Cagayan de Oro City last September, while Development Bank of the Philippines launched its Urdaneta City regular branch last August.

China Bank’s thrift unit, China Bank Savings opened the most BLUs during the quarter with eight and all were outside of the National Capital Region.

BDO rural bank opened the most number of BLUs during the period, or 16 across areas outside of the NCR.

As of end-December 2022, the BSP is supervising 45 big banks, 43 thrift banks and 403 rural and cooperative banks.

Overall based on BSP data, there are 29,348 bank branches in the country, of which 1,836 are head offices, and 27,512 are other offices such as BLUs and microfinance-oriented branches.