Cebu-based Vicsal Development Corporation (Vicsal) said it has entered into an investment agreement with Woori Bank of South Korea, which should enable a strategic alliance between Woori and Vicsal thriftbank unit Wealth Development Bank Corporation (WealthBank).
“It is a strategic initiative in response to the liberalization of the country’s banking sector,” WealthBank Chairman Edward Gaisano said, adding that the deal is expected to increase the bank’s net worth by threefold, strengthen its balance sheet, and deepen its market reach and product offerings.
WealthBank has grown from just one branch in 2002 to 16 across the country today, with close to P7B in assets. Under the partnership, WealthBank will leverage on the vast world class facilities and expertise of Woori Bank, as well as the opportunity to tap into the 1.2 million Korean tourists who visit the Philippines yearly, and the 100,000-strong Korean expatriate community in the country, a joint statement said.
The partnership will also enable WealthBank to cater to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in South Korea, as well as local and Korean small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Woori Bank is the oldest and one of the largest banks in Korea, it said. It has the largest Korean bank overseas network with presence in 18 countries.
“This partnership with Woori Bank will unlock the huge potential of WealthBank with the expected synergy. We are excited about the joint venture as it further underscores our commitment to growth through collaboration with world-class companies,” Gaisano was quoted as saying.
Vicsal recently strengthened its strategic alliances through joint ventures with other leading global companies such as Ayala Land, Megaworld Corporation, and Hong Kong Land. Its retail unit, Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc., was recently listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. Aside from banking and retail, Vicsal is also into real estate development through the Taft Property Venture Development Corporation and in financial management through AB Capital. Vicsal is the majority owner of Filipino Fund, Inc., a closed-end mutual fund listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.