BPI eyes full integration of RBC into its system in 12-18 months

The Philippine central bank is set to unwind the relief measure allowing banks to use loans to small businesses and large enterprises as alternative compliance with the reserve requirements. — REUTERS

BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) expects to fully integrate Robinsons Bank Corp.’s (RBC) systems into its own within 12-18 months, the top official of the latter said.

“All the branches of Robinson’s Bank are still open and labeled Robinsons Bank simply because the system is still a Robinsons Bank system. I think [BPI Chief Technology Officer Alexander G. Seminiano] will try to do this in phases in over the 12 to 18 months to convert,” Robinsons Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Elfren Antonio S. Sarte said during BPI’s annual stockholders’ meeting last week.

BPI President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco earlier said the full integration of RBC into BPI’s systems could take two years.

“It will take about two years to transform all the RBC branches because you have to change the logos,… we have to change the systems, we have to move the people who are RBC accountholders and move them to BPI systems. So, our integration plan will take about two years,” Mr. Limcaoco said.

The merger between BPI and RBC took effect on Jan. 1, with BPI as the surviving entity.

BPI Chief Financial Officer Eric M. Luchangco previously said BPI’s loans are expected to grow by 11-12% this year, driven by a 6% boost following its merger with RBC.

“Apart from what is already in the books, the bigger opportunity really is the ecosystem play… The other opportunity or the strength that we have that we’re bringing to BPI is our capability to touch the Gokongwei ecosystem. We are serving a lot of their financial needs or banking services,” Mr. Sarte said.

“That’s the model that we want to bring into BPI. One is we were bringing in the Gokongwei ecosystem as a natural customer within BPI,” he said.

He added that RBC is now cross-selling its consumer loan products to BPI customers, which will contribute to the Ayala-led bank’s profits.

“Our people in Robinsons Bank are very good at cross-selling. So, we’re confident they will contribute to the targets of BPI this year,” he said.

Mr. Sarte added that one of the RBC products now being offered to BPI’s clients is teachers’ loans.

“This came from Legazpi Savings Bank, which is really a very small savings bank with 27 branches primarily located in the Bicol area… So, what we bring to the table is really a full suite of savings, protection, and loan products. That will differentiate us from our competitors,” he said.

BPI’s vast network could help bring this product to a wider array of customers, he said.

BPI saw its net income grow by 25.8% year on year in the first quarter to P15.3 billion as higher revenues offset increased provisions and expenses.

Its shares dropped by P1.50 or 1.16% to close at P127.50 apiece on Tuesday. — A.M.C. Sy