PH, Malaysia pact to pave way for entry of ASEAN banks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2017 12:46 AM

MANILA – The conclusion of bilateral discussions in Cebu City between the Philippine and Malaysian central banks is expected to pave the way for the entry of qualified banks in both countries.

The agreement is aimed at greater financial integration among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and will allow a maximum of three banks each, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla.

The Philippines and Thailand also signed a letter of intent to begin bilateral discussions, under the ASEAN banking integration framework, at the sidelines of the ASEAN central bank governors’ meeting in Cebu.

The integration process between banks in ASEAN is meant to benefit all countries, said Espenilla.

“I think the whole point of this integration process is to expand markets as well as to promote competition. Competition generally benefits consumers, because it results in higher quality services, as well as higher variety and pricing,” he said in an interview on ANC’s “Business Nightly.”

In addition to Thailand and Malaysia, there are also preparations underway for the signing of additional letters of intent. However, Espenilla declined to give details about these moves.

He said the BSP is well-prepared for any issues that might arise because of the ASEAN integration.

“In the past couple of years, there has been a systematic exercise by the BSP to progressively strengthen our banking system,” he said. - Business Nightly, ANC, April 6, 2017