Rural bank mergers pushed

BY Ann Rozainne R. Gregorio, Reporter (Business world)

RURAL BANKS are urged to hasten mergers or consolidations to create stronger banks that will not only provide better products and services to clients, but more importantly, compete with commercial banks that have started to branch out to the countryside, the incoming president of the association of rural banks said.

“Five to 10 years from now, commercial banks are expected to fully saturate urban areas, so the next step for them is to enter the countryside to continue their business expansion,” said Ian Eric S. Pama, the incoming president of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP), in an interview last Thursday.

Mr. Pama, also president of the Valiant Rural Bank, Inc. based in Iloilo, replaces Ma. Corazon Liamzon-Miller, whose term as RBAP president ends this month.

The central bank is encouraging rural banks to merge or consolidate to create stronger, more professionally-run institutions. Among the banks it supervises, rural banks are most prone to collapse.

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