Manila: A merger between Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) has created the country’s second-largest lender, with assets estimated at Php3 trillion ($39 billion).
The merger takes effect from March 1, 2022. Landbank is the surviving brand.
In a public statement published late on Tuesday on its official Twitter account, Landbank said UCPB stockholders have approved the merger with Landbank. Local media reported that more than 97% UCPB shareholders voted in favour of the merger plan and articles of merger.
Landbank is the official depository bank of the Philippine’s national government. The UCPB was created for coconut farmers and agricultural development. Services of both banks will "remain unhampered" during the merger's implementation.
The move came after President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order No. 142, and merger’s endorsement by the Governance Commission for Government-owned and controlled corporations. The merger was also approved but Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.
As of September, Landbank’s net income rose by 21% to P16.72 billion ($326.6 million) from P13.8 billion a year ago, with assets expanding by 14% to P2.56 trillion.
Capital managed by the state-owned bank also went up by 26 percent to P208.17 billion from P165.52 billion.
Likewise, Landbank has complied with commitment to the provisions of the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Reform Act of 2009. Last year, the bank’s portfolio of loans for the agriculture sector stood at 76.95 percent, while for agrarian reform beneficiaries reached 11.52 percent.
UCPB, created to serve coconut farmers and agricultural sector workers, stands to gain from Landbank’s financial muscle.
Landbank has seen its agricultural lending grow from P222.05 billion in 2018, to P236.31 billion in 2019 and P237.62 billion in 2020.
▶ Landbank also owns the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), the country’s first branchless digital-only bank licensed by the central bank.
Ease of access
The Landbank-UCPB merger will help ease access to branch and ATM networks for their clients, as the combined entity will operate a combined 667 branches and 2,722 ATMs nationwide.
Landbank president and CEO Cecilia Borromeo said the combined entities will see improved products and services to deliver the government’s goal of “financial inclusion”.
Borromeo said Landbank has the capability to absorb the financial impact of the acquisition of UCPB. At the end of the day, she said the addition of UCPB’s assets and liabilities to Landbank will also increase the surviving entity’s deposits, loans and capital.
“With this merger, we are looking forward to a stronger, more resilient and unified banking institution that will promote and broaden financial inclusion among Filipinos, especially those who belong to the underserved and unbanked sectors,” Borromeo said in a media statement.