• Bank of Commerce eyes unibank status this yr

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    THE Bank of Commerce is looking at obtaining a universal bank license as part of a strategy to expand services and fortify its presence in the domestic market.

    In a statement on Monday, Bank of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Roberto Benares said the bank will have to beef up its capital to enable it to ride out stiffer competition as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) gets increasingly integrated.

    “It is imperative that we get bigger, stronger and better in the face of Asean integration and the rigid competition that we expect from it. A unibank status will afford us the flexibility we need to expand our services and grow our presence here to achieve scale,” he said.

    It is expected that the private sector will need to raise funds in the coming years to finance infrastructure development and capacity expansion in a fast growing economy.

    Benares said he is confident that local banks can compete against other Asean banks, and benefit from a regional market of some 600 million potential customers.

    Bank of Commerce is the 17th largest lender in the Philippines in terms of assets, which stood at P136.84 billion as of end-2016. In terms of capital, the bank ranks 15th with P15.36 billion.

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