Friday, December 26, 2008

PNB-Allied Bank merger by mid-2009

As of December 27, 2008, here's the latest news for those who bank with PNB and Allied Bank:

The merger between Philippine National Bank (PNB) and Allied Banking Corp., originally targeted for end-2008, is now expected to be completed by middle of 2009, PNB said in a statement.

PNB said there was a need to comply with US banking regulations requiring Allied Bank to divest its 28-percent equity share in California-based Oceanic Bank prior to the merger.

It said that even with this development, preparations of both banks for the merger were in full swing and on track.

“Significant progress has been made on the following: identification and synchronization of IT systems; alignment of products, policies and procedures; branch rationalization; and review for consolidation of required regulatory documentation,” the statement said.

The ATM systems of PNB and Allied Bank have been integrated to allow each bank’s clients to use either bank’s machines free of charge despite the fact that the two banks are on separate ATM networks.

The bank said that in support of the merger, organizational changes in the board and management of Allied Bank and PNB will be implemented beginning Jan. 1: Domingo T. Chua has resigned as director of PNB and has been elected as chairman of Allied Bank; Estelito P. Mendoza has been elected as director of PNB, filling the vacancy left by Chua; Gloria Tan-Climaco has been elected director of PNB, taking the place of Macario U. Te, who will retire effective Dec. 31; and PNB executive vice president for global operations Anthony Q. Chua will be seconded to Allied Bank as chief operations officer.

Post-merger PNB will become the fourth-biggest domestic bank in terms of total assets and branch network, with the most extensive international footprint among local banks.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

EDSA 2: A Mistake -- Cory Aquino

As a member of the editorial board of Touchlife Express Balita (a weekly Christian newspaper in Manila), I was privileged to get invited to the launching of the erstwhile Speaker Jose de Venecia's book entitled Global Filipino. Actually, the complete title is unusually long: "Global Filipino: The Authorized Biography of Jose de Venecia Jr., the Visionary Five-Time Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines."

The book launching was held at The Atrium of the Podium Bldg. in posh Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, yesterday afternoon (Dec. 22). After introducing his book, former Speaker de Venecia gave the floor to an enthusiastic ex-President Joseph "Erap" Estrada who gave a much-applauded speech which lasted over 15 minutes.

At one point, Mr. Estrada said that he had read the book from cover to cover but because it was thick (hard cover of over 250 pages, ), it gave him a headache. Then he quipped that those in the MalacaƱang Palace would have a greater headache when they read the contents of the book (which is highly critical of the Arroyo administration.)

After Estrada, it was "People Power" Pres. Corazon "Cory" Aquino's turn to speak. Her speech was very brief, less than 3 minutes, but also applauded by the audience at several points. By now, both pro- and anti-administration groups must be busy dissecting the impact of her apology to Estrada. Her exact words as recorded in my PDA:

"I am one of those who pleads guilty for the 2o01 uprising. Lahat naman tayo nagkakamali. Patawarin mo na lang ako."

[English translation of the italicized words: "After all, we all make mistakes. Just forgive me."]

While Cory was smiling when she articulated the above mea culpa, as a direct eyewitness of the event, I reckon that she spoke with sincerity.