DAVAO CITY — A thrift bank with 24 branches in Luzon is looking to expand in Davao City before the end of the year.

Jose G. Araullo, chairman of Real Bank, said potential areas in Davao City are being assessed as site of the bank’s first office in Mindanao. There are also plans to expand to Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Iloilo.

“In my experience, it’s more viable to build your own building. It would cost at least P10 million or so,” Mr. Araullo told BusinessWorld.

He said Real Bank has decided not to become too aggressive with expansion given the economic downturn. “We are trying to be conservative, we don’t know what would happen during a crisis,” he said.

Real Bank at present has branches in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Batangas. It had over P5 billion in resources at the end of 2007, up from P4.19 billion in 2006.

“It’s important to have branches in all areas so we can transact business within the bank itself,” Mr. Araullo said. — Joel B. Escovilla



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