In March 2016, the Monetary Board approved the Bank’s Capital Build-Up Program to meet by 31 October 2019 the minimum capital requirement of P 750 million for a thrift bank with head office in the National Capital Region and with a network size of up to 10 branches. The Bank's estimated shortfall of P 95 million will be covered through shares offering in 2018 plus increase in the retained earnings of the Bank for the next four years.

We spent considerable time in 2016 working on two projects of the BSP which were scheduled to be implemented in 2017. Firstly, the electronic processing and clearing of checks through the Checks Image Clearing System (CICS) which will reduce check processing to just one working day instead of the three days previously. In January, 2017, our bank was among thirty seven banks that were cited by the Philippine Clearing House Corporation as fully CICS compliant, Secondly, migration to the EMV chip technology, primarily automated teller machine (ATM) cards, point of sale (POS) terminals and clients' cards, moving away from the current magnetic strip. We are one of the first five outsourcing banks to complete the testing and secure FIME certification as Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) compliant for all the Bank’s ATM terminals and chip card.

Early in the second semester, to improve the financial position of the Bank, management decided to venture into consumer financing, specifically automobile loans. This was effected initially via two-party transactions. By the end of 2016, we had already booked P17.5 million in auto loans, and we are projected to book an additional P100 million in 2017.

 

A change in leadership in the BSP will come in July when its current governor steps down after completing his second, six-year term. Nevertheless the BSP is expected to continue to implement additional reforms to further strengthen the banking system. In addition, the BSP is poised to raise policy rates this year with the expected U.S. Federal Reserve rate hikes, rising inflation, a weakening peso and strong economic growth.

The Philippine economy is expected to maintain its strong performance this year by achieving a growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent, backed by increased infrastructure spending and a comprehensive tax reform package which includes the lowering of corporate and personal income taxes plus some revenue-raising measures like reducing the coverage of some VAT exemptions and higher excise taxes, among others. Thus, the Bank will ride with the robust performance of the Philippine economy.

In closing, we would like to thank our Board of Directors for its guidance, to our stockholders, for their continuing support and trust in management, and lastly to our employees, for their constant hard work and loyalty to the Bank.

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