Bank of the Philippine Islands @ 171 – Manila Bulletin


Ignacio R. Bunye

At 171+, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) – the country’s and Asia’s premier bank – continues to dominate the banking and financial sector. BPI marks this milestone with an Anniversary Mass this morning which will be presided over by Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD Bishop of Cubao at BPI’s satellite office – BPI Buendia center.

Originally named Banco Español de Isabel II (after the then reigning monarch of Spain), BPI was created on August 1, 1851 by the Junta de Autoridades. The junta was a Manila-based committee of civil and church officials, which was established in 1828 by royal decree of King Ferdinand VII.

The bank’s initial capital was provided by Obras Pias – which handled charitable contributions to the Catholic Church. Among the original shareholders was prominent businessman Antonio de Ayala, ancestor of current BPI president Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA). The Church was the dominant shareholder until 1968, when Ayala became the bank’s largest shareholder. Some of the best names in global finance have been BPI shareholders. JP Morgan took a 20% stake in 1974, which DBS then purchased in 1999. Later, the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore acquired part of DBS’s stake in 2014.

Acquisitions completed organic growth, as follows: People’s Bank in 1974. Com trust in 1980. Family Savings Bank in 1984. City trust in 1996. Far East Bank in 2000. Prudential Bank in 2005.
BPI has also recorded many “firsts” in its glorious history. 1851 – BPI makes its first loan to a Filipino-Chinese merchant. 1864 – BPI lent money to the colonial government to build the Arranque Market and San Juan de Dios Hospital. 1888 – BPI finances Jacobo Zobel’s Compania de Tranvias de Filipinas, the steam-powered railway that replaced horse-drawn carriages.

In 1896, BPI issued the very first Philippine banknote. According to Money and Banking in the Philippines, BPI was granted, by royal decree, a monopoly on issuing notes up to three times its share capital of 1.5 million pesos. Its banknotes were designated Pesos Fuertes, in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200, payable in Mexican or Hispano-Philippine silver coins. Banknotes were used in conjunction with Mexican peso coins, Alfonsino pesos, Spanish-Philippine silver coins.

In 1982, BPI was a pioneer in electronic banking. 1990 – BPI sets up the first ATM network. 2000 – Creation of the first bancassurance company. 2009 – Creation of the first mobile microfinance institution. 2013 – Construction of the first solar-powered bank branch. 2016 – BPI Capital led the issuance of the 10.7 billion peso Aboitiz Power climate bond – the first for geothermal energy and the first “green bond” among peer institutions. A transition financing project for a coal plant is currently in preparation, which will allow the plant to end its coal-fired operations 15 years ahead of schedule.

Additionally, BPI continued to engage the community on several fronts.
– The BPI Foundation has directly engaged and advanced financial wellness, financial inclusion, financial literacy and sustainable development.
– The BPI-DOST Science Awards continue to provide the country’s brightest students with a platform to showcase and implement business concepts based on science and technology.
– BPI also nurtures the civic spirit of its employees through the BPI Bayan volunteer program. Over the years, BPI staff members have contributed thousands of volunteer hours to help targeted communities conceptualize, organize, fundraise and implement self-help projects.

Moving forward, Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco, President and CEO of BPI, outlines BPI’s growth strategy anchored on the following principles:
– Establish BPI as the undisputed leader in digital banking
– Increase the share of SME and consumer loans in the bank’s loan portfolio
– Bridging the funding leadership gap
– Redefining the new role of agencies
– Promote a sustainable bank, and
– Customer excellence.

The following people make up the board of directors of the bank.
– Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, President
– Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Vice President
– José Teodoro “TG” K. Limcaoco, President/CEO
– Janet Guat Har Ang
– René G. Bañez
– Romeo L. Bernardo
– Ignacio R. Bunye
– Cezar P. Consing
– Ramon R. Del Rosario, Jr.
– Octavio Victor R. Espiritu
– Aurelio R. Montinola III
– Antonio Jose U. Periquet (until December 15, 2021 and appointed to the advisory board as of December 16, 2021)
– Cesar V. Purisima
– Eli M. Remolona, ​​Jr.
– Ma. Dolores V. Yuvienco
The following people make up the Bank’s Advisory Board:
– Delfin L. Lazaro
– Mercedita S. Nolledo
– Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban
–Oscar S. Reyes
– Antonio Jose U. Periquet



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