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BDO to acquire Citibank Savings

BDO Unibank Inc. on Thursday unveiled its plan to acquire 99.99 percent of Citibank Savings Inc., a move seen to raise the Sy-controlled bank’s game in the Asean region.

In a disclosure, Corporate Information Officer Elmer Serrano said BDO has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Citibank Savings, Citi’s thrift-bank subsidiary in the country.

Citibank Savings, a member of Citigroup, has 10 operating branches, mostly situated in Metro Manila. Formerly Insular Life Savings Bank, it was acquired in 2005 by Citi.

Citibank in the Philippines is part of Citigroup, one of the world’s largest financial-services organizations.

BDO said it is buying the thrift bank to expand market reach and increase its client base.

The acquisition price has not been disclosed, as this is subject to the closing conditions and approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“The acquisition is part of BDO’s continuing efforts to strengthen its domestic business franchise to respond to new opportunities and prepare against entry of foreign competition under an integrated Asean region,” BDO said. 

To keep up with the challenge brought about by the regional integration, Philippine banks must beef up overall capital positions and strengthen their balance sheets.

Asian Bankers magazine said the 2013 Top 10 strongest bank balance sheets in the Asia Pacific were represented by players from Greater China and Southeast Asia.

Hang Seng Bank, the domestic banking subsidiary of global giant Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC), snagged the top spot. Agricultural Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macau), both landed on the second spot. HSBC was ranked fourth, while China Construction Bank Corp. was fifth.

BDO was 127th among the largest 500 banks in the Asia-Pacific region.

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