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A trusted flagship in Philippine banking

Article - June 11, 2013
Metrobank is one of the Philippines' most successful banks, while staying true to its brand promise of "You're in Good Hands"
GEORGE S.K. TY, CHAIRMAN OF METROBANK
For over a decade, the Asia-Pacific region has been regarded as the world’s dynamic economy and this year’s investment grades from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings prove that the Philippines is no exception. 
 
In 2012, the Philippines exceeded market expectations with a GDP growth of 6.6% thereby reaffirming what analysts say about the country being Asia’s sweet spot for investors.
 
The Philippines boasts of having the youngest population in the region and with a significant part of the workforce being highly educated and fluent in English, the country is a goldmine for investors, especially in outsourcing.
 
The local banking industry is thriving as increased stability means confidence is riding high. Banks are recording high growth and are well positioned to take on international competition. In fact, seven Philippine banks are featured in the Top 1,000 World Banks 2012 rankings compiled by The Banker magazine from the Financial Times. Leading the charge of the country’s top performers is the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, known as Metrobank
 
Buoyed by business and consumer confidence, Metrobank registered a net income of P15.4 billion ($377 million) in 2012 for a 40% increase over the P11 billion recorded in 2011.  Metrobank assets breached the P1-trillion mark, ending the year with P1.04 trillion ($25.5 billion) in total resources. The bank’s growth was supported by the 8% hike in deposits to P738.7 billion which in turn fueled the 15% expansion in net loans and receivables to P525.7 billion.  
 
Metrobank remains to be adequately capitalized.  Metrobank reported total equity of P120.0bn and total capital adequacy ratio of 16.3% with Tier 1 CAR at 13.7%.   
 
The entrepreneurial banker

Established in 1962 and headquartered in Makati City, the bank was founded by the Chairman of Metrobank Group, George S.K. Ty. 
 
“Banks at that time were very conservative and as a young entrepreneur, I had difficulty in getting funds to complete our family’s flour mill,” recalls Mr. Ty.  
 
Backed by his entrepreneurial expertise and a difficult experience in getting financial support from banks, he then envisioned to put up his own bank. 
 
“Had it not been for one state-owned bank, I would not be able to get enough capital to fund our family business. From then on, I was determined that there should be a bank that would lend support to businessmen and the community,” says the bank’s founder.
 
“It was very difficult. I never gave up. That’s why Metrobank became a reality. 
 
“Fifty years ago, the banking scene in the country was different. I started something that was more unique compared to other banks. Back then our competition were well established banks that had been in operation for more than 75 years. 
 
“But from the very start, I humbled myself. I made sure that I earned the trust of our customers; I ensured that each and every Metrobanker tows the line of trust and credibility.”
 
Although he comes from a family of Chinese migrants, Mr. Ty considers himself very much a Filipino. As his way of giving back to his second home, he made sure that Metrobank not only catered to Chinese businessmen, but especially to the Filipino people.
 
Metrobank expanded its reach early on by establishing branches in the countryside and slowly inched its way to the global scene to cater to Filipinos wherever they are in the world.
 
A flagship bank

Today, Metrobank is the country’s premier universal bank and has the largest consolidated domestic network of over 828 branches and 1,760 automated teller machines (ATMs) all over the archipelago. It also has 34 foreign branches, subsidiaries and representative offices around the world in cities such as New York, Chicago, Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong.
 
In 2012, Euromoney magazine named Metrobank the ‘Best Bank in The Philippines’ for the third consecutive year. 
 
It has demonstrated a capability to excel not only in banking, but it also has considerable stakes in real estate, power generation, life insurance, hospitality and the automotive industry. 
 
Aside from providing banking products and services, Metrobank has been considered as one of the institutions in the Philippine banking industry having one of the most stringent risk management policies, procedures and standards, which have, in turn, made the bank more stable and secure.
 
Another key focus of Metrobank that contributed to its success is its emphasis on enduring banking relationships. 
 
“We established Metrobank to be a customer-focused institution that is responsive to the needs and concerns of its stakeholders” says Mr. Ty. 
 
This client-centric approach has been very evident and effective as some of the company’s key clients have been with them for years, some even as long as the bank has been in existence.
 
Corporate citizenship

According to the founder and group chairman, since Metrobank was established half a century ago, there has always been a thrust towards enabling its stakeholders. At first, it was to provide financial access to sustain the business growth of entrepreneurs, but the bank has since expanded this focus onto various programs that build capacity and provide incentives to key groups in society that are crucial to national development.
 
From the outset, Mr. Ty has stated that trust is a fundamental component of any bank and as part of Metrobank’s operations, he would set up a foundation so he could give back to the people and serve the community. 
 
“You have to convince people, one way or the other that you are honest, trustworthy, kind hearted, and a good person, especially as a banker,” he says. “So we set up a foundation to show this. And true enough, when people talk about Metrobank, people say we are proper businessmen, not just ones trying to make money. So this foundation to me is not just a foundation, but also a good sense of who we are.”
 
In 1979, the Metrobank Foundation was established to implement social development projects in the Philippines focusing on education, visual arts and healthcare. 
 
“The foundation’s programs embody our commitment to a culture of excellence, a means of empowering Filipinos that allows them to inspire and positively influence their peers and constituents,” says Mr. Ty. 
 
As the heart and soul of the Metrobank Group of Companies, the foundation is a helping hand in nurturing a culture of excellence, and its philanthropic arm in contributing to human well-being. 
 
As the company looks forward to banking in the Philippines for another 50 years, Mr. Ty shares his vision for Metrobank. 
 
“Regardless of what technological innovations or retail-based changes occur in the industry, a bank must retain the very reason for its existence: public trust. We must, above all, continue to advocate that a bank is entrusted with a person’s hard-earned money.” 
 
Mr. Ty adds, “We envision a Metrobank that continues to cater to the next generation of our tenured customers – a bank that is trusted by generations of families, entrepreneurs and businessmen to take care of their banking needs.”

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