The central bank is optimistic that the number bank closures will decline this year with the help of a program meant to strengthen the industry, particularly smaller banks.
Nestor Espenilla Jr., Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas deputy governor for Supervision and Examination Sector, provided an optimistic view when asked if the extension of the Strengthening Program for Rural Banks (SPRB) Plus will result fewer closed banks in 2015.
“I should hope so.…The banking system keeps getting better and better,” Espenilla said.
The BSP and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) recently announced that the SPRB Plus had been extended for another year from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015.
The agencies said their move is in response to the clamor of banking industry associations for the program’s extension to encourage more mergers, consolidations and acquisitions of eligible rural banks and thrift banks by strategic third-party investors.
SPRB Plus is an enhanced version of the original SPRB, which was launched in 2010 exclusively for rural banks.
Meanwhile, data from the PDIC showed an easing in bank closures in the last three years.
In 2014, only 14 rural banks were placed under PDIC receivership by the Monetary Board of the central bank.
24 and 18 banks were closed and placed under the PDIC receivership in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The 14 closed banks in 2014 include: the Leyte-based Rural Bank of Burauen Inc., the Batangas-based Synergy Rural Bank, Cooperative Bank of Tarlac Inc., the Bulacan-based Fil-Agro Rural Bank, Rural Bank of Lobo Inc. in Batangas, Rural Bank of Padre Burgos in Southern Leyte, the Cavite-based Banco Carmona Inc. (A Rural Bank),Rural Bank of Oroquieta (Misamis Occidental) Inc., Asian Consumers Bank (A Rural Bank) in Basista, Pangasinan; Gulf Bank (Rural Bank of Lingayen Inc.), Rural Bank of Pres. M.A. Roxas Inc. in Zamboanga del Norte; Rural Bank of Montevista in Davao del Norte, Rural Bank of Reina Mercedes in Isabela, and the Cavite-based Silangan Savings and Loan Bank.