The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported it has approved seven merger/consolidation applications involving 14 banks under the Strengthening Program for Rural Banks (SPRB) Plus.
A joint project of the BSP and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC), the SPRB Plus aims to strengthen the banking system and to minimize bank closures. The program intends to encourage mergers, consolidations and acquisition of rural banks and of thrift banks, which generally serve the same niche markets as the RBs.
The central bank added that as of December 18, four strategic third party investors (STPIs) banks were granted branching incentives, without the financial assistance component from the PDIC, for their acquisition of eligible banks.
At the same time, the central bank and the PDIC have approved the extension of the SPRB Plus for another one year.
“With this extension, we expect to receive more proposals. We urge the industry to avail of this limited opportunity. Considering the much stronger condition of the banking system today, this may be the last extension,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said.
SPRB Plus is an enhanced version of the original SPRB which was launched in 2010 exclusively for rural banks.