Two foreign banks quit PH
Two foreign banks have closed shop in the Philippines—Taiwan’s Cathay United Bank Co. Ltd. and the Dutch ABN-Amro Bank NV.
In separate announcements to banks and other financial institutions, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the two banks have ceased operations in the country.
In Circular Letter No. 2016-25 dated March 18, BSP deputy governor Nestor Espenilla said the Monetary Board ‘noted’ the cessation of operations of ABN Amro Bank NV’s offshore banking unit on March 3.
The announcement on the cessation of operations of the Manila representative office of Cathay United Bank Co. Ltd. is contained in Circular Letter No. 2015-30 dated March 30.
Representative offices of foreign banks usually function as a mere listening post or a liaison office promoting and giving information on the services it offers. An offshore banking unit, meanwhile, are only allowed to do transactions in foreign currencies.
ABN Amro was among the foreign banks that took advantage of the liberalization of the banking industry that started in the mid-1990s. It went as far as operating several branches only to sell them later on and steadily scaled down its operations.
As of the BSP’s January 15, 2016 listing, Cathay United Bank Co. Ltd. was still classified as a commercial/universal bank with quasi-banking functions. (Eileen A. Mencias)