ONE NETWORK BANK ACQUIRES RURAL BANK

DAVAO CITY — One Network Bank has folded in the Rural Bank of New Corella based in Davao del Norte, further extending the reach of Mindanao’s largest rural bank.

Alex V. Buenaventura, bank president, said the acquisition will allow One Network Bank to expand its loan services to other areas in Davao del Norte, particularly to entities engaged in banana farming.

“We will be able to increase our loans to the banana industry,” Mr. Buenaventura told BusinessWorld in a text message.

The acquisition raised One Network Bank’s assets to P1.534 billion from P1.531 billion. It also fulfilled the central bank’s wish for fewer but bigger rural banks.

The memorandum of agreement on the deal was signed on August 10 by Mr. Buenaventura and officials of the other rural bank. It was approved during the banks’ stockholders meeting on August 24.

The Rural Bank of New Corella was based in Davao del Norte, where about 60% of the 40,000 hectares of commercial banana plantation in the region is located.

This latest development is expected to trigger both loan and deposit expansion for One Network Bank.

One Network Bank is itself the result of merger of three profitable banks in 2004 namely the Rural Bank of Panabo based in Panabo, Davao del Norte; the Davao City-based Network Rural Bank; and Provident Rural Bank of Cotabato based in North Cotabato. -xxx-

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