The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) reported on March 28 that the number of big and small banks operating in the country reached 632 in 2015, less than 2014’s 648.
BSP said, "This indicates the continued consolidation of banks as well as the exit of weaker players in the banking system."
The number of thrift banks was slightly up to 69 last year from 68 in 2014, while the number of rural and cooperative banks decreased to 524 from 543.
The BSP’s Monetary Board ordered the closure of 14 rural banks that were placed under the supervision of the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) in 2015.
The number of big banks or universal and commercial banks went up to 40 in 2015, from 36 in 2014 with the entry of new foreign banks. These consisted of 21 private domestic banks, 12 foreign bank branches, 3 government banks, and 6 foreign bank subsidiaries.
In July 2015, President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act No. 10641, thereby removing the limit of foreign banks in the country earlier set at only 10.
Foreign banks under the new law have also been allowed to own as much as 100% of any local bank, removing the previous cap of 60%.
To date, BSP has also allowed 6 more foreign banks to set up shop in the Philippines. These include Sumitomo Mitsui of Japan; Cathay United Bank of Taiwan; the Industrial Bank of Korea; Seoul-based Shinhan Bank; Yuanta Bank of Taiwan; and United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) of Singapore.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) declared a failure of bidding on March 28 for the P123-billion ($2.65-billion)Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike—dubbed as the most complicated public-private partnership project in the country to date.
The three qualified bidders who failed to submit their bids are:
Trident Infrastructure and Development Corporation, or "Team Trident," composed of Ayala Land, Incorporated; Megaworld Corporation; Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Incorporated; and SM Prime Holdings, Incorporated; San Miguel Holdings Corporation; and Alloy Pavi Hanshin LLEDP Consortium, composed of Malaysia's Alloy MTD Capital BHD; Prime Asset Ventures, Incorporated; and South Korea's Hanshin Engineering Construction Company Limited.
The Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike PPP project involves a 37-year contract to build a 47-kilometer (km) expressway between Taguig City and Los Baños, Laguna and a 45-km flood-control dike for P64.91 billion ($1.40 billion).
The project also includes reclaiming around 700 hectares of land in Taguig and Muntinlupa cities near to the road-dike for about P57.90 billion ($1.25 billion). – Lynda C. Corpuz