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BSP approves consolidation of three cooperative banks


THE BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the consolidation of three cooperative banks and allowed a rural bank to start its operations.

The central bank said in a circular letter dated March 10 that it approved the consolidation of Metro South Cooperative Bank, Consolidated Cooperative Bank, and Bataan Cooperative Bank to form a new cooperative lender named One Cooperative Bank.

One Cooperative Bank began operating on Feb. 27 after the BSP issued a certificate of authority on Jan. 25

The BSP said it approved the consolidation on June 23, 2022. One Cooperative Bank was registered with the Cooperative Development Authority on Dec. 22, 2022.

Meanwhile, the central bank said in a separate circular letter dated March 10 that it issued a Certificate of Authority to Operate as a rural lender to People’s Hawak Kamay Bank, Inc.–A Rural Bank on Feb. 3.

It began operating on March 1.

The BSP’s policy-setting Monetary Board, in Resolution No. 227 dated Feb. 9. 2018, approved the application for authority to establish the new rural lender.

The bank was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 19, 2019.

In March 2022, the BSP approved the Rural Bank Strengthening Program (RBSP) to help boost the operations, capacity, and competitiveness of rural lenders in recognition of their role in promoting development in the countryside and financial inclusion.

As part of the RBSP, the central bank in September last year raised the minimum capital requirement for rural banks to at least P50 million to further strengthen the industry.

Under the new rules, a rural bank with a head office and up to five branches needs to have a minimum capitalization of P50 million, regardless of location.

Rural banks with six to 10 branches are required to have a minimum capital of P120 million, while those with more than 10 branches should have capital of at least P200 million.

Rural banks whose capital falls below the new minimum requirements can refer to available options under the RBSP and submit their capital buildup plan within six months to the BSP. The rural banks are given five years to meet the minimum capital requirements.

The central bank shut down nine rural banks in 2022. — AMCS

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