DAVAO CITY—Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Friday the inauguration of the new corporate center of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) in this city represents the institution’s investment in one of the country’s fastest-growing regions, and underscores its commitment to expanding financial inclusion among Filipinos.
Dominguez, who led the inauguration of LANDBANK’s Davao Corporate Center this afternoon, said the establishment of the financial institution’s offices in the city will bring in more unbanked and underserved segments of society under the umbrella of formal banking, which, in turn, will help in accelerating inclusive economic growth in the region, especially in rural areas.
“Thank you for inviting me to this inauguration. This will be my last engagement as Secretary of Finance and Chairman of LANDBANK. I am happy that this happens in my hometown,” Dominguez said during the event.
LANDBANK’s Davao Corporate Center is the biggest of the state-run institution’s corporate offices outside the National Capital Region (NCR) and will serve as a one-stop-shop for over 30,000 clients in Southern and Eastern Mindanao.
“The Davao Corporate Center underscores LANDBANK’S commitment to expanding its reach and bringing its services to all Filipinos,” he added.
“I see this corporate center as LANDBANK’s investment in one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. With the infrastructure build-up in the region and the great potential the area holds, rapid growth will transpire here in the next few years,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said he is particularly proud that his term as chairman of LANDBANK was a period of growth, innovation and expansion for the institution.
“I commend the good work put in by LandBank President and CEO Cecil Borromeo, Executive Vice President Liduvino Geron, without Geron we wouldn’t have had the merger of UCPB, and the men and women of LandBank during the last six years of the Duterte administration. They built a strong banking institution that serves the goals of national development,” Dominguez said.
“I thank everyone for transforming LANDBANK into a giant in the field capable of leading the banking industry to the dawn of the new economy and steering the country towards strong and inclusive growth,” he added.
Compared with all other administrations, it was during the Duterte presidency that the largest amount of capital was infused into LANDBANK to enable it to better serve the needs of the Filipino people, Dominguez noted.
When President Duterte assumed office in 2016, LANDBANK had only P88.7 billion in capital, he said. It has since then grown to P215.8 billion on the outgoing President’s watch, making it the second-largest universal bank in the country.
“The robust capital infusion reinforced LANDBANK’s financial strength and allowed it to go beyond its role as a policy bank and take a bigger part in nation-building,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez pointed out that LANDBANK’s capital “is being prudently managed and is used to finance projects that are most needed by the country, not just in the agriculture sector.”
Under the Duterte administration, LANDBANK has become the biggest lender to the local government units (LGUs) and has expanded to serve other sectors such as healthcare, education, power generation and distribution, water, transportation, and housing–all led by the private sector, Dominguez said.
LANDBANK’s acquisition and merger with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), which also happened under the Duterte administration, “will provide more robust support to the country’s agriculture sector for inclusive rural development,” Dominguez added.
The merger further increased LANDBANK’s reach throughout the country, with the number of its full-fledged branches growing from 418 to 607 nationwide.
On top of performing its banking functions, LANDBANK is also the distribution arm of cash grants for 10 million beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) programs, Dominguez said.
This was most evident during the pandemic, he said, when LANDBANK performed “an indispensable role of serving as a conduit for delivering relief assistance to millions of Filipinos in the most vulnerable sectors.”
LANDBANK also rolled out special lending programs designed to assist LGUs, small and medium enterprises (SMES), the transport and education sectors, as well as parents of students at the height of this public health emergency.
Teaming up with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), LANDBANK cleared the way for 8 million formerly unbanked national ID registrants to be part of the formal banking system, in support of President Duterte’s goal of financial inclusion for all Filipinos.
LANDBANK was also instrumental in delivering the President’s promise of establishing a bank exclusively for Filipinos based abroad with its establishment of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), which is officially the first branchless digital-only bank in the country.
The OFBank now serves overseas Filipinos in 119 countries.