New DBP head to employ 'back to basics' strategy

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 23 2012 11:19 AM | Updated as of Oct 23 2012 07:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Newly-appointed Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) president Gil Buenaventura has vowed to implement “the back-to-basics strategy” to ensure the bank’s long-term financial strength.

In his speech to employees during the turnover ceremony yesterday, Buenaventura said the strategy would “entail reinforcing our financial muscle characterized by a strong capital adequacy ratio, and a consistently healthy balance sheet and earnings predictability.”

Buenaventura also assured that this strategy would be consistent with the DBP’s mandate, vision and mission.

“Our inclusive and collaborative workplace culture will provide sustainability for the bank. And with your support, I hope to bring the experience and lessons I have learned from my previous career to push forward DBP’s development priorities,” he said.

He also acknowledged the challenges that he has to face working with the government.

“This much I can assure you, that with each and everyone’s unqualified support, I will do what I can, as much as I can, to address issues and concerns (and I know they are varied) for the good of the institution, its officers and employees, and our country. This is not a promise of a cure-all for the challenges the bank now faces, but I remain optimistic and committed,” he said.

Buenaventura, who will be working with the government for the first time, has also solicited the cooperation of the bank’s workforce to carry out this strategy.

“Today marks a number of firsts for me – my first stint in government and as a public servant, my first stint with a prestigious development financial institution, my first address to the men and women who have committed their talents and their time for the continued well-being of others,” he said.

“I am humbled by the challenge given to me – which is to lead DBP, an institution which has been a key player in nation-building, and its supportive role in growing businesses and industries, entrepreneurs and communities which remain as relevant and as critical today as when this bank was first established 65 years ago.”

The new DBP chief said they would continue to stay competitive in the industry.

“DBP operates in a very competitive environment, with all banks vying for business opportunities in our rapidly-growing economy. And despite private banks entering areas that traditionally have been the domain of DBP, this more competitive environment will continue to provide opportunities unique to DBP as a universal bank, as a development institution, and as an instrumentality of the national government,” he said.

He is also confident that DBP would remain steadfast in its role as a catalyst for growth.

“We will continue to safeguard our liquidity position through an effective campaign to generate low cost funds. Likewise, the bank will capitalize on its expertise, serving as a catalyst for a progressive and poverty-free Philippines. We will work for raising the level of competitiveness of the economy for sustainable growth,” he said.

Buenaventura headed the corporate banking group of the Bank of the Philippine Islands BPI since 1996 and most recently served as its senior executive vice president and COO.

He was president of Prudential Bank, which was absorbed by BPI in 2005. He was instrumental in leading one of the quickest integration exercises in BPI and in the history of the banking industry.

The former Citibanker, who was a product of the merger between BPI and CityTrust Banking Corp. in 1996, started his banking career in 1973 when he was trainee in two US banks – Chemical Bank and First National City Bank.