Philippine Bank of Communications
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|Public (PSE: PBC)|
|Industry||Finance and Insurance|
|Founded||Manila, Philippines (1939)|
|Eric O. Recto, Chairman
Nina D. Aguas, President and CEO
|P1.4 billion PHP ( ↑70% YTD Q3 2013)|
Number of employees
|Slogan||Towering above the rest|
The Philippine Bank of Communications, more commonly known as PBCOM, is one of the largest commercial banks in the Philippines. One of the oldest banks in the country as well, it will celebrate its 75th year in 2014. The bank is also known for its towering headquarters, PBCom Tower, the tallest building in the Philippines, located in Makati.
PBCOM started as the Philippine branch of the Chinese Bank of Communications, which became one of the first non-American foreign commercial banks to operate in the Philippines (foreign because it was under Chinese control at the time) with the granting of its banking license on August 15, 1939. It was incorporated and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 23 and started operations on September 4. The bank started operations at the ground floor of the Trade and Commerce Building on Juan Luna Street, then the Wall Street of the Philippines, in Binondo, Manila, with a staff of twenty men, all below the age of thirty and many fresh out of school.
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, PBCOM followed most other banks at the time and closed operations. It resumed operations after World War II in 1945 through the infusion of new financial capital, although it had to operate from another building as its main offices at the time were used as the headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur. Although it was not legally obligated to do so, PBCOM announced that it would honor all pre-war accounts, saying instead that the war and subsequent occupation of the Philippines was merely a long bank holiday that would have no effect on any depositary instrument PBCom had at the time. A year later, PBCOM would join the Manila Clearing House Association.
On July 15, 1947, PBCOM opened its first provincial branch in Cebu City and leased a lot in front of its main office at the time a year later. By March 1953, PBCOM's new six-storey headquarters was inaugurated. The bank's trust department was established in 1962 and its headquarters was remodeled in 1964, which included the retrofitting of the building to house Binondo's first escalator.
On June 21, 1974, the then Chinese-owned PBCOM was put under majority Filipino control with the purchase of a majority stake in the bank by Ralph Nubla and his company. The new management subsequently infused an additional 83 million pesos in capital, and established its treasuries group later in the year. PBCom was subsequently accredited as a certified government securities dealer in 1981.
PBCOM listed on the Manila and Makati Stock Exchanges (now the Philippine Stock Exchange) in 1988 and reached an agreement with Filinvest Land to develop its properties on Ayala Avenue. In May 1997, the property was developed into the 52-storey PBCom Tower, the bank's new headquarters and the tallest building in the Philippines. PBCOM relocated its original Cebu City branch in 1999 and celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in September 1999. 2.6 billion pesos of fresh capital was infused in 2000 and PBCOM subsequently acquired Consumer Savings Bank, a nineteen-branch savings bank. The bank moved into PBCOM Tower in 2001, occupying the first ten floors. Because of the move, PBCOM subsequently refreshed its image with a new logo.
PBCOM issued its first international credit card, a MasterCard issued in joint partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, in 2002. It subsequently introduced online banking in 2003 and was infused with an additional three billion pesos in fresh capital. As a show of support, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation gave PBCOM an additional 7.64 billion pesos in financial enhancement funds, which formed part of PBCOM's comprehensive business plan. The funds were really used to buy high-yielding government securities that would stop the true sale of any non-performing assets to a special purpose vehicle, or SPV.
On November 22, 2006, Philtrust Bank expressed their intention to buy 58% of PBCOM, buying the stakes of the Nubla and Chung families. The Luy family, the owners of the largest share of PBCOM, refused to talk about the deal. If it succeeded, it would have moved Philtrust up to the thirteenth largest lender in the country and the transaction would have been the fourth bank merger of that year, after the mergers of Prudential Bank into BPI, International Exchange Bank into Union Bank of the Philippines and the Banco de Oro-Equitable PCI Bank merger.
On July 26, 2011, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed among the 3 major shareholders of the Bank and the ISM Group for the sale of the three major shareholders in the Bank representing approximately 97.28% of the Bank's outstanding capital. The Chung and Nubla Groups reinvested proceeds of the sale of their respective shares in the Bank.
On May 8, 2012, SEC approved the quasi-reorganization of PBCOM. Eric O. Recto was elected as the Bank’s Chairman during the regular Board Meeting.
On August 2012, Nina D. Aguas joined PBCOM as President and CEO. Aguas is widely acknowledged as a banking legend. She was the first female Country Business Manager within Citibank’s Global Consumer Group. Under her leadership, the multinational bank’s Philippine franchise strengthened their sales capabilities, establishing telemarketing and direct sales disciplines that allowed the bank to cross the one million mark in credit cards and secure a market leader position. Post-Citi, Aguas became MD for Retail and Private Banking, Asia-Pacific for ANZ Group with geographic responsibility for North & North East Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, China) and South & South East Asia (Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand). Aguas was also a recipient of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the World award, held this year at San Francisco, California.
PBCOM has since undergone an end-to-end transformation. There has been a build-up of key senior managers, a change in the bank’s branding and logo, now represented by a dragon, and an introduction of a new branch look and feel to reflect the bank’s thrust towards next level banking.
As of the third quarter 2013, PBCOM reported a P1.4 billion net income, this is a 70% improvement year on year. In the wake of Yolanda, the supertyphoon that hit the Philippines, the bank launched PBCOM Moves fund. Part of its vision to be relevant and meaningful in the communities it serves, this fund was started up by donations of the PBCOM employees and the officers’ collective foregoing of their Christmas giveaways and parties. The funds raised will be matched by the company. PBCOM endeavors to create a medium-term, concrete solution in the areas affected by the recent calamity.
The bank also undertook a customer care initiative, implementing a zero-cost loan payment holiday to customers in the Yolanda-affected regions of Aklan, Biliran, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Northern Samar and Western Samar.
- Eric O. Recto: 24.19%
- ISM Communications Corporation: 21.38%
- Ralph C. Nubla, Jr.: 17.28%
- Telengtan Brothers and Sons, Inc.: 10.64%
- Langford Universal Finance Ltd.: 5.10%
- La Suerte Workmen's Compensation Fund: 2.36%
- TTC Development Corporation: 1.40%
- Injap Investments: 1.20%
- Ray Anthony Go Roxas-Chua: 1.20%
- Gregorio T. Yu: 0.60%
While Philippine Central Depository is listed a major shareholder, it is more of a trustee-nominee for all shares lodged in the PCD system rather than a single owner/shareholder.
Subsidiaries and affiliates
PBCom competes with other commercial banks, such as International Exchange Bank and other banks. It also competes with major banks, such as Metrobank, BPI, Equitable PCI Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines and Philippine National Bank.
Quite ironically, PBCom's headquarters is also home to the headquarters of a competitor bank, East West Bank. East West Bank is based on the 20th and 21st floors of PBCom Tower.
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