Security Bank sees faster growth in its retail segment and a direct access to Japanese investors in the Philippines from a partnership it entered into earlier this year with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU).

Alfonso “Yogi” Salcedo Jr., Security Bank president and chief executive officer, said they started to expand their consumer banking services three years ago but a capital equity infusion of P37 billion from BTMU will further speed things up.

“Security Bank saw a lot of changes when it started its focus on retail,” he added, citing there were no major organizational adjustments when the Bank of Tokyo came in last April 2016 because it agreed with the strategy to grow the consumer banking segment to complement the wholesale business.

For BTMU, according to Alliance Segment Group head Takahiro Onishi, an investment in the Philippines is a sound one because it has the biggest growth potential in Asia. The Japanese bank places a big premium on the country’s economic development, he added.

Security Bank
SECURITY BANK officials led by president and chief executive officer Alfonso “Yogi” Salcedo Jr. (center) discuss latest company updats in a press conference in Cebu. With him are Alliance Segment Group head Takahiro Onishi (left) and wholesale banking segment head Eduardo Olbes.

Japanese corporate market

The partnership also gives Security Bank a foothold in the Japanese market in the Philippines, allowing it to offer its full range of consumer, commercial, as well as wholesale banking services to BTMU’s 700 corporate clients, Salcedo added.

“Penetrating this (Japanese) market wasn’t part of Security Bank’s strategy. We didn’t think we have the resources,” said Eduardo Olbes, head of Security Bank wholesale banking segment.

He added that there is also the opportunity to “go glocal” when it comes to serving their Filipino clients as Security Bank can now give them access to Bank of Tokyo products all over the world.

While they’re still in the early stages of the partnership, Salcedo said, a lot has already been accomplished.

“We weren’t actively looking for a partner, though our relationship with BTMU goes back a couple of years. We hold the same values, have the same ethics,” he added.

Security Bank expansion

Salcedo said they plan to increase their network to 292 branches by end of 2016 to reach a wider base of customers. The ultimate goal is to have from 450 to 500 branches by 2020.

An additional 35 branches will be put up in 2017 and 35 more in 2018 nationwide, added Olbes. In Cebu, the expansion will mean one more branch before the year ends and another four, to rise in Danao, Minglanilla, Lapu-Lapu, and Toledo, in the next two years.

Another initiative that Security Bank hopes to achieve under the partnership is to leverage its existing corporate and commercial relationships and connect it to the BTMU network not just in Japan but in other countries as well, Olbes cited.

According to him, a joint project of Security Bank and BTMU will be to host a business matching forum by February next year to connect Philippine companies with their Japanese counterparts.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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