Business World: Landbank bill OK’d on third reading

WITH only three days before Congress takes a break for the holidays, the Senate approved a measure extending the corporate life of state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) on third and final reading.

Voting 19-0, senators yesterday approved Senate Bill (SB) No. 2944, which seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 3844 and extend the life of Landbank “for a period of fifty years from the expiration of its original term… renewable for another fifty years.”

Landbank’s corporate life will end on Aug. 8, 2013. RA 3844, enacted in 1963, created the bank and gave it a “legal existence… for a period of fifty years counting from the date of the approval hereof.”

Reconciliation of SB 2944 and its counterpart, House Bill (HB) No. 5461, approved on third reading on Dec. 13, 2011, will take place in January, according to Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate banks, financial institutions and currencies committee, in a text message yesterday

Lawmakers go on break for the holidays on Thursday and reconvene on Jan. 21.

Mr. Osmeña pointed out SB 2944 gives Landbank a corporate life of “50 plus 50 years,” while the “House provides only 50 years.”

He was nonetheless sure the measure “will pass this Congress.”

The country’s fourth largest bank in asset terms, Landbank fulfills a developmental role by extending loans to farmers, fisherfold, small businesses, local government units and state firms.

It is one of the country’s most profitable banks, earning P7.6 billion in the three quarters to September, 7% more year-on-year. — K. M. P. Tubadeza

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