BPI vs BDO vs Metrobank in the Philippines
BDO, BPI, Metrobank and Landbank
BDO, Metrobank, Landbank and BPI are the four biggest banks in the Philippines. They're all trillionaire banks and all are universal banks. Landbank is government-owned while the three others are stock corporations.
BDO has been the fastest-growing bank since BDO was acquired from its original owners by the SM Group, the biggest shopping mall operator in the country.
BDO's owners leveraged their mall assets by putting one or two BDO branches in each of its many malls throughout the country, serving customers up to early evening, all days of the year. They fulfilled the banking needs of mall goers and OFW families who receive their remittances through banks.
Based on total assets as of September 2018, the other banks in the Top 10 list in the Philippines are
- Security Bank
- China Bank
- DBP (also government-owned)
- Union Bank
For ordinary people like me, the best banks are the ones that:
- offer various banking services for free or at low costs
- offer convenience to customers, such as a lot of branches, ATMs and longer banking hours
- offer safe investment opportunities
- give back to the community
- contribute to the stability of the country's banking system
Because not one bank offers all the services that we want, we usually have accounts in more than one bank. These banks offer a lot of services, including Internet banking, investment options and private and corporate banking, but we'll mention only some services that interest us or are unique to one bank.
What We Like About BPI
- More than 800 branches in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Europe, and close to 3,000 ATMs and Cash Deposit machines as of 2017.
- The first Philippine bank to install Cash Deposit machines where one can deposit peso bills without using an envelope and with the ATM deposit instantly credited. Many of their deposit machines can be accessed any time of the day or night. Now BDO and Metrobank have their own deposit machines, but they're usually installed inside branches and not available after banking hours.
- Its subsidiary BPI Family Bank offers a low-interest Mastercard BPI Family Credit Card. Monthly finance charge is 2%, computed from posting date. Annual fee is 1,000 pesos, free for the first year.
- Update: The BPI Classic Card, which offered a lower monthly interest rate and lower-cost installment and loan features, has been discontinued by BPI. BPI offered other cards to Classic cardholders to which BPI transferred Classic transactions and retained whatever rates were given during Classic transactions.
How BPI Gives Back to the Community
It holds the annual Search for 10 Outstanding Expat Pinoy Children, and its BPI Foundation runs:
- microfinance trainings in partnership with Ateneo de Manila University in major cities
- Show Me, Teach Me, SME Empowering Entrepreneurs
- BPI-DOST Science Awards
- BPI College Scholarship program
- Climate Change Project
What We Like About BDO
- Longer banking hours
- Open on Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays (for branches located in SM malls). Several branches not inside SM malls are also open on Saturdays.
- Lots of branches and ATMs -- Has 1,129 branches in the Philippines, more than 3,000 ATMs, nearly 400 in-branch Cash Accept machines and 27 international offices as of May 2017.
The location of BDO branches in SM malls evidently helped speed up BDO's growth. Because a great number of Filipinos go to the mall often, they choose to open BDO accounts so they can bank and shop at the same time under the same roof. It's also very convenient for OFW families receiving remittances from abroad. Certainly, it's safer withdrawing money inside the safety of the mall, including exchanging dollars, pounds or yens.
How BDO Gives Back to the Community
The BDO Foundation runs:
- a partnership with Gawad Kalinga
- an SME entrepreneurship program
BDO's majority owner, the SM Group, runs the SM College Scholarship program.
What We Like About Metrobank
- Offers a Zero-Fee credit card—Its M Free Mastercard is "Forever Free" of annual fee. This is significant as most credit cards typically charge 1,400 pesos or more for annual membership.
Has more than 2,300 ATMs nationwide, more than 950 domestic branches and 32 foreign branches, subsidiaries and representative offices as of 2017
How Metrobank gives back to the community
Metrobank Foundation runs the following programs:
- Search for Outstanding Teachers
- Metrobank Scholarship Program
- Outstanding Policement in Service
- Outstanding Philippines Soldiers
Almost two million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are currently working worldwide as engineers, nurses, teachers, seamen, doctors, dentists, physical therapists, domestic helpers,welders, electricians, machine operators, etc. Since they remit large amounts of money to their families monthly, banks have crafted special services for them.
Aside from the usual bank to bank transfer or remittance service to bank transfer, these banks also offer accounts designed for OFW clients and their families:
- Pamana Savings Account with Free Insurance
- Pamana Padala Account with Income Continuation Insurance
- Padala Moneyger
- BDO Kabayan Savings Account (Peso)
- BDO Kabayan Savings Account (US Dollar)
- Enrollment for Free Life Insurance Coverage
- BDO Remit Status Inquiry online service
- OFW Peso Savings Account
- OFW Dollar Savings Account
- Metrobank Remittance Inquiry online service
- Bagong Bayani ATM Account (in peso or US dollar)
Recent International Awards Received by BPI, BDO and Metrobank
These three banks have received plenty of international and local awards. The following are just some of the awards:
- Best Bank in the Philippines 2009 from Global Finance
- Best Bank in the Philippines 2009 from Euromoney
- Best Bank in the Philippines 2009 from FinanceAsia
- Best Emerging Market Bank in the Philipines 2010 from Global Finance
- Best Bank in the Philippines 2010 from FinanceAsia
- Best Foreign Exchange Provider in the Philippines 2010 from Global Finance
- Best Bank in the Philippines 2010 from Euromoney
- Best Managed Company (Medium Cap) in the Philippines 2010 from AsiaMoney
- Best Domestic Bank in the Philippines 2010 from AsiaMoney
Facts That May Interest You
In the Philippines, there are 587 banks (branches not counted) as of January 2018:
- 21 universal banks (6 are branches of foreign banks)
- 22 commercial banks (17 are foreign-owned: 2 subsidiaries and 15 branches)
- 55 thrift banks (includes private development banks)
- 489 rural banks (includes cooperative banks)
BPI was the first bank in the Philippines and, arguably, in all of Southeast Asia. It began as El Banco Espanol Filipino de Isabel 2 in 1851 as a Spanish-owned bank. In 1907, the bank became a Philippine institution, and in 1912, it became the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI).
Among the top stockholders of BPI as of December 2009 are the:
- Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila
- Mercury Group
The Metrobank Foundation owns the:
- Manila Doctors Hospital along U.N.
- Manila Doctors College along Macapagal Ave.
Metrobank also owns 30-percent of Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation.
Among the top stockholders of Metrobank as of June 2010 are:
- Federal Homes
- Home Development Mutual Fund
- Insular Life Assurance Co.
Among the top stockholders of BDO as of September 2010 are:
- International Finance Corp. (U.S.)
- United Overseas Bank (Singaporean)
- Insular Life Assurance Co.
Curiously, in all three banks' Lists of the Top 100 Stockholders, Non-Filipino Philippine Central Depository Nominee Corp. shareholders account for the biggest number of shares.
- For BPI, non-Filipino PCDNC shareholders ranked No. 1 as of December 2009.
- For Metrobank, non-Filipino PCDNC shareholders account for 28.55 percent of the total, and ranked No. 1 as of June 2010.
- For BDO, non-Filipino PCDNC shareholders account for 20.47 percent of the total, and third in ranking behind SM Investments and Filipino PCDNC shareholders.
This could mean though that Philippine banks are seen as strong and stable by foreign investors. Besides, PCDNC shareholders don't grant their voting rights to PCDNC.
Of course, many know that:
- BDO is controlled by Henry Sy's SM Group
- BPI is controlled by the Ayala Group
- and Metrobank is controlled by George Ty's group.
For further statistics on these and other banks in the Philippines, just go to BanksPhilippines.com.
Vote for Your Bank -- Just for Fun
1. Which is your primary bank?
Is Landbank your primary bank?
Sorry I missed including Landbank in the 2012 poll; I started this Landbank-only poll Jan 7, 2019)
2. If none of the above, which of these is your primary bank?
And You Are?
Top Banks in the Philippines, Based on Assets, as of September 2018
Total Assets, as of Sep 2018 in Pesos
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.