San Miguel Corp. president and chief executive Ramon Ang said the upgrade of the banking license of Bank of Commerce, an affiliate of the conglomerate, will enable the lender to further support local businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, to help drive economic growth amid the pandemic.
The bank officially received a universal bank status in a ceremony led by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno, Deputy Gov. Chuchi Fonacier, Monetary Board members Peter Favila, Anita Linda Aquino, Felipe Medalla, V. Bruce Tolentino, Ang, BankCom chairman Jose Pardo and president and chief executive Michelangelo Aguilar.
Ang said with a recent capital infusion of P5.5 billion from SMC Equivest Corp., coupled with the potential proceeds of an upcoming initial public offering, the bank was in a strong position to provide access to capital for both existing and new clients, including major companies.
“SMC would not be where it is today without our partner SMEs nationwide—from our dealers, contract growers, service station operators, franchisees, to service providers and many more in our nationwide ecosystem. They are key not just to our overall operations, but to stimulating and sustaining economic growth, especially at this crucial period when we are still in a pandemic,” Ang said.
“Bank of Commerce has been an indispensable partner for many of them and has a proven capability and track record in servicing both our partner SMEs and major subsidiaries. We are grateful that now, we can expand the bank’s offerings and services to more clients not just within the SMC network, but more significantly, outside of it,” Ang said.
Data showed that as of end-September 2021, the total assets of BankCom reached P195 billion, representing a 14-percent growth from P171 billion at the end of 2020. Its deposit base, spread across 140 branches, stood at P167 billion as of September, 14 percent higher than the P149 billion at end-2020.
Net income grew by 26 percent in the first nine months of 2021 from the same period last year.
Ang said while Bank of Commerce provides financial services to major corporate clients, it is important to support small to medium enterprises, which he said are critical to continued recovery.
He said that the growth of SMEs, many of which have the potential to become bigger businesses—as demonstrated by many major Philippine corporations that started out as small businesses—is key to generating more employment nationwide.
BankCom filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in November, and a listing application with the Philippine Stock Exchange in December for its proposed initial public offering and listing of common shares.
The common shares have an indicative offer price of up to P12.50 per common share and are intended to be offered in the first quarter of 2022.
BDO Capital & Investment Corp., China Bank Capital Corp., Philippine Commercial Capital, Inc. and PNB Capital and Investment Corp. were engaged as joint issue managers, joint lead underwriters and joint bookrunners for the IPO.