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“TOP 10 BANKS IN THE PHILIPPINES” [Flashback* 08.21.2013]


What are the Top Ten banks in the Philippines? Although BDO, Banco De Oro, was ranked the best bank in the PHL for the fourth straight year, there are other good financial institutions which will suit the need of most expats. Let’s take a look at some of the top establishments.

RCBC(Photo Source: RCBC website)

Let’s see how these banks in the Philippines rank according to assets, deposits, loans and capital as of the end of 2012:

  • BDO, Banco De Oro (# 1 in assets, deposits, loans and capital)
  • BPI, Bank Of The Philippine Islands (# 2 in deposits and loans,  #3 in assets and capital,
  • Metrobank ( #2 in assets and capital, #3  in deposits and loans
  • Landbank of the Philippines ( #4 in assets, deposits, loans and capital)
  • RCBC, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (#5 in assests, #6 in deposits, loans and capital)
  • PNB, The Philippine National Bank (#7 in assests, deposits, and loans. #10 in capital.)
  • China Bank, Philippines (#5 in deposits and loans. #8 in assests and capital.) 
  • UnionBank ( #5 in capital, #8 in deposits, #9 in assets and #10 in loans.)
  • DBP, Development Bank of the Philippines (#6 in assets and capital. #9 in deposits and loans.)
  • Security Bank (#8 in loans, #9 in capital, #10 in assests)

(source of ranking information:


(Photo Source: RCBC website)

Here’s some brief information for each bank listed as the Top Ten Banks in the Philippines. 

  • BDO Unibank, Inc., commonly known as Banco de Oro and BDO, is the largest bank in the Philippines. It belongs to the SM Group of Companies, one of the country’s largest conglomerates owned by tycoon Henry Sy, the richest man in the Philippines.
  • Bank of the Philippine Islands is the oldest bank in the Philippines still in operation and is the country’s third largest bank in terms of assets, the country’s largest bank in terms of market capitalization, and the country’s most profitable bank.
  • The Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, commonly known as Metrobank, is the second largest bank in the Philippines. It has a diverse offering of financial services, from regular banking to insurance.
  • Landbank of the Philippines, also known as LANDBANK or by its initials, LBP, is a universal bank in the Philippines owned by the Philippine government with a special focus on serving the needs of farmers and fishermen.
  • The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, RCBC,  was established in 1960 as a development bank and is licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for both commercial and investment banking.
  • The Philippine National Bank, PNB, is one of the largest banks in the Philippines. It rose to become the fifth largest bank in the Philippines after its merger with the Allied Bank. It was established by the Philippine government on July 22, 1916, during the American colonial period, and became the first universal bank in the Philippines in 1980.
  • China Bank, Philippines,  was the first bank in Southeast Asia to process deposit accounts on-line in 1969, and the first Philippine bank to offer phone banking in 1988.
  • UnionBank of the Philippines is a partnership among the Aboitiz Group, Insular Life and Social Security System. It started operations in 1981 and became a commercial bank by January 19, 1982. In July 1992, UnionBank was granted the license to operate as a universal bank. The bank acquired the International Corporate Bank (Interbank) in 1994.
  • DBP, Development Bank of the Philippines services various sectors of Philippine society, from farmers to businessmen. Although the Philippines has an economy  largely dependent on agriculture, something that Landbank addresses, DBP aims for national development through financing the various businesses and economic sectors that keep the Philippine economy afloat. Like Landbank, it provides the services of a regular universal bank; however, it is officially classified as a “specialized government bank” with a universal banking license.
  • Security Bank, Philippines, is a publicly listed Philippine universal bank which serves corporate, institutional, commercial and consumer clients. Established in 1951, Security Bank has, for over 60 years, remained steadfast in its focus and commitment to serve its clients and stakeholders with distinction. DBP

(Photo Source: DBP website)

You will see a term “universal bank” used to describe some of the institutions listed above. Wikipedia, the source of the majority of the above information, describes a “universal bank” as one which participates in many kinds of banking activities and is both a commercial bank and an investment bank.  These are also called full-service financial firms, although there can also be full-service investment banks which provide asset management, trading, and underwriting.

What banks in the PHL are best suited for expats living in the Philippines? Expat Focus reports that expatriates are often advised to use a bank that has branches internationally. Some international banks can open the account for you before you move to the Philippines, although you will still be subject to the same regulations and will need to produce the same paperwork. This also has the benefit of making money transfers much simpler.

HSBC and Citibank both have branches in the Philippines. Expats are advised not to deposit too much money in a Philippine bank account as the maximum deposit insurance is P500,000, approximately 11,470 US Dollars.  It is a good idea to keep a bank account in your country of origin if you have savings.

The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation states the following on their website: “Effective June 1, 2009, the maximum deposit insurance coverage is P500,000 per depositor. All deposit accounts by a depositor in a closed bank maintained in the same right and capacity shall be added together.

And here’s something from the PDIC website that anyone, expat or not, should take notice of: “Under R.A. (Republic Act) No. 9576, the PDIC may propose to adjust the MDIC, subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines , in case of a situation that threatens the monetary and financial stability of the banking system that may have systematic consequences.” 

8 thoughts on ““TOP 10 BANKS IN THE PHILIPPINES” [Flashback* 08.21.2013]

  1. Solid bit of research. All in one place vs hitting the wiki for each.

    I’ll offer an idea. The full service banks sound superior to something non full, but if there is some smaller regional bank that happens to be local community oriented rather than swashbuckling into international credit default swaps, being “less” than full service might be desirable.

    Global upheaval looms, most agree, but your local regional bank might offer some insulation.

  2. Owen,
    I don’t think I would feel comfortable using one of the smaller local banks.

  3. While you are all commenting on banking and regional or global financial issues, I was, as usual looking at the pics. The pic of the woman in the Woman’s Enterprise Loan ad (1st one) looks a bit suspicious to me, as in a bit too masculine. Don’t think I’d invest in that bank lol!

  4. The small local banks are the first to go under. Not worth the risk here in the Philippines.

  5. I find these articles very informative Dave.

    Think we will be keeping most of our money here in the states though, and just transfer as needed.

    At one point I was considering putting enough money in an account there to qualify for the type of visa, I have read about that an expat can get by having a bank account with a certain amount of money in it (don’t remember what it is called) because it sounded as though it was an easy one to get and keep, and not have to keep going to immigration there to renew paperwork every year, but I may not have my facts real straight on that as its been quite sometime since I read about it, and my memory gets worse every day it seems.

  6. I most certainly do understand the impression people have of small vs. large banks. My point was not to claim safety. It was to re-order that “first to go under” thing. If upheaval triggers swaps globally, then the big ones go down first, because they were swap writers or holders.

    When they go down, the economy goes down and that can take the small ones down. So they are second to go under, not first.

    As for keeping money primarily in the states, of course. Though with the peso nudging 44, whatever is going to be moved might wisely be moved soon. Bernanke says he will stop printing. If for any reason he did not stop, that 44 will get forgotten.

  7. Yes, guess that’s what I was thinking about, just don’t remember the names of all the different Visa’s. We will stay here for a few years, then hopefully make the big move to there.

  8. Dollar to Pesos exchange rate is still moving up 🙂 Today’s exchange rate at BPI is 44.24, at BDO 44.10. Time to move some money…

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