A south Korea-based bank said it has gained the approval of the central bank to operate in the liberalized Philippine banking sector.
According to an article posted on The Korea Times website, Woori Bank—South Korea’s second-biggest bank by assets—said it has won final approval to take over a Philippine-based bank, in line with its efforts to tap deeper into overseas markets.
The South Korean bank said it received approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to purchase a 51-percent stake in the Cebu-based Wealth Development Bank.
Woori Bank said it plans to complete the acquisition in the first half of 2016.
The Gaisano-led WealthBank claims to be one of the country’s fastest growing
independent thrift banks, expanding from just one branch in 2002 to 16 across the country today. The bank has close to P7 billion in assets.
Woori Bank said it aims to tap deeper into the Philippine financial market through cooperation with Vicsal, another major shareholder of the Wealth Development Bank.
Following the deal, Woori Bank now has 225 networks overseas.
Woori Bank is the seventh foreign bank that has been given the green light to set up a branch in the country.
It followed Japanese lender Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.; South Korea’s Shinhan Bank; Taiwan’s Cathay United Bank; Industrial Bank of Korea; Yuanta Commercial Bank Co.; and Singapore-based United Overseas Bank.