THE PHILIPPINE POSTAL SAVINGS BANK
A Brief History
On 24 May 1906, Act No. 1493 was passed creating the Postal Savings Bank (“Postbank”) as a division of the Bureau of Posts. The objective was to bring banking services to the rural areas and to enable the Philippine government to tap savings in the countryside.
The banking operation of Postbank was interrupted during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s following the breakdown of the banking system due to war and hyper-inflation which resulted from the introduction of Japanese war notes as a medium of payment.
Postbank resumed operations in 1946 shortly after the end of the Japanese war. Initially with savings deposit accounts amounting to P4,104,223, the Bank grew rapidly. Deposits jumped to P14.4 Million in 1947, P25 Million in 1948 and P33 million in 1949.
However, shortly after Martial Law was declared, President Marcos decided to close the Bank by passing on January 29, 1973 Presidential Decree No. 121 which directed the liquidation of Postbank on the ground that it was unduly competing with private thrift banks. The operation of Postbank was phased out and its assets were transferred to the Philippine National Bank (PNB) pursuant to P.D. No. 241.
On April 2, 1992, Republic Act No. 7354 was passed transforming the Bureau of Post into an autonomous chartered corporation. It was renamed the “Philippine Postal Corporation” (PHLPOST) and was granted the power to reopen/reactivate Postbank. In the exercise of this authority, the PHLPOST Board of Directors passed Resolution No. 94-36 authorizing the re-establishment of Postbank as a wholly-owned subsidiary in line with the Medium Term Corporate Plan of PHLPOST as embodied in its Resolution No. 93-119. Among the goals of this Plan was “to develop the rural financial sector to ensure adequate supply of credit to the countryside.”
The incorporation of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, Inc. was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 22, 1994 with an authorized capital of P1.0 Billion of which P500 Million was subscribed by PHLPOST. Postbank was formally re-opened by President Fidel V. Ramos in a simple ceremony held in Malacañang on July 21, 1994. The Postbank lumbered for a long while until a new management took over following the assumption of Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino III as President of the Philippines.
Postbank started operations with an initial paid up capital of P200 Million. However, a year after the new management took over, the Bank’s paid up capital went up to P629,234,883 including its retained earnings and a capital infusion of P249 Million from the National Government.
When the new Management took over in July 2011, it immediately carried out a drastic re-organization and instituted reforms in governance, cost-cutting measures, and an aggressive pursuit of lending opportunities. Postbank ended 2011 with a modest net income of P5.3M instead of an expected loss of over P20M. This rose to P30M in 2012 and is expected to double to P60M net income in 2013. Loans and deposits followed a similar steady growth pattern.
It is evident that Postbank has stabilized and can now focus on the objectives it has been mandated to achieve all these years.
While the Bank aggressively undertakes its core banking functions, it is simultaneously pursuing its vision to become the government’s authentic countryside development bank.
In fact, programs have been put in place in pursuit of the Bank’s original mandate. Through its Microfinance Banking Office (MBO) program, Postbank is expected have its presence felt in the countryside, utilizing the 1,500 postal offices located all over the country. More specifically, the Postbank will establish its presence in the 37% of municipalities, which are unbanked as well as penetrate the other municipalities, which are financially underserved.
Through the MBO, the Postbank hopes to contribute its share towards achieving the government’s major objective of inclusive growth.
Specifically, the Bank shall provide the following financial services in the unbanked and underserved municipalities:
- Mobilize savings
- Make available microfinancing to individuals and organized groups
- Provide credit to LGUs to finance the delivery of basic services, specifically water, renewable energy, health and sanitation.
Postbank now operates nationwide with twenty-five (25) branches – fifteen (15) in Luzon, six (6) in the Visayas region and four (4) in Mindanao. But, as we mentioned earlier, this network is expected to expand significantly as we open up microbanking facilities in selected postal offices in the unbanked and underserved municipalities throughout the country. By 2014-2015, over 100 MBOs will be set up and more are planned to be established over time.
It is also worth noting that, as the MBO program is launched, so too will be the Bank’s domestic and international remittance service. This will also utilize postal offices as program situs, in addition to other private outlets (pawnshops and retail outlets).
The parallel launch of the MBO and remittance programs is anchored on the use of the remittance hardware and software, which shall also serve as the systems backbone of the MBO program.