NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Despite Covi9- 19 and storm Odette, Bohol has shown resilience through the numbers of Bohol’s banks in terms of total deposits and loans.
According to Juvie D. Calacat, president of the Bohol Bankers Association of the Philippines (BBAP) and CEO/President of the Cooperative Bank of Bohol (CBB), Bohol’s total deposits is an all-time high of P66.6 billion as of March 2022.
This is four times bigger than the total loans outstanding for Bohol at P13.0 billion proving Bohol has plenty of savings and is considered a “net saver” or “net provider of funds” as a bank.
The deposits came from the following: universal/commercial banks at P53.116 billion, thrift banks at P11.02 billion and cooperatives/rural banks at P 2.512 billion. The capital city alone has deposit levels of P51.9 billion and loans of P7.888 billion.
PARADIGM BORROWERS’ SHIFT AND BRANCHES
During the pandemic, while everyone’s business was in a challenging situation – there was a marked decrease in housing, renovation and personal loans and an increase in the agricultural sector aided by the credit facilities given to the agricultural center like MSMEs for food security reasons.
Under the “Bayanihan” Program, many borrowers (especially the victims in the tourism industry) had extended loan terms (30 – 60 days grace period) under the Bayanihan Heal as One program. Inflation was talked about as having dipped to 2 – 4% (lower than the national rate) while interest rates kept at levels from 6.5 – 8%.
BRANCHES, ATMS, AND REMITTANCES
According to the BBAP, these deposits and loans are reflective of an era of resiliency even as the bank branches hit 119 in numbers and ATMs expanding (259). Of the 119 branches – 49 are commercial and universal banks, 39 are thrift banks and 39 rural cooperatives.
All universal and commercial banks in the country have at least one branch in Bohol. Tagbilaran City is the center of banking activities where there are 46 banks, 26 of which are commercial and universal banks, 12 thrift banks and 8 rural and cooperative banks.
Remittances continue to fuel the growth of the Philippines with $29.3 million in personal and $2.7 million in cash remittances. Bohol is facing the same bonanza despite the pandemic.
OUTLOOK AND BSP BRANCH
Calacat who is an HNU cum laude accountancy graduate with a Juris Doctor title said the BSP sees upbeat business confidence in the region with inflation at 2 – 4% which is below the current 8% inflation rate.
She also lauded the BSP (Central bank) and the banks in general for teaming up to improve the education of the masses on the benefit of digitalization although she noticed there is a tendency among some others to prefer the traditional way of doing banking business.
She also mentioned that both the bankers association and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan had filed separate resolutions following up on the building finally of the BSP branch (Dauis) in Bohol.
Even then Governor Edgar Chatto had made similar representations with the BSP with the much-needed BSP branch here to lessen the risk of banks transporting cash to other places.
The robust numbers of the banks here in Bohol leads to the conclusion that indeed they are resilient and rode on the pandemic and Odette storm as a “steady ship at sea”.
Banks and businesses are considered partners in moving a community to greater heights of progress and prosperity to this province of over a million people. Bohol has a stable and thriving banking industry.