January 10, 2023Bank of Commerce’s (BankCom) trade finance business grew more than six times in the last three years given its accelerated support to both SMEs and larger businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. BankCom, the banking arm of conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC), has obtained its universal banking license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in 2021. “The re-opening of the economy, coupled with higher domestic consumption and improved global demand, provided a unique opportunity for BankCom’s trade business to scale up and provide well-thought-out solutions to meet the needs of both exporters and importers from within its client base,” BankCom president Michelangelo R. Aguilar said. He added that in boosting the bank’s capacity to deliver trade finance, especially at the height of the health crisis in 2020, BankCom was able to help sustain the operations of small-and-medium enterprises in particular, helping speed up their recovery as the pandemic eases and value chains are rebuilt. Yearend estimates of BankCom’s trade-related contingent liabilities for 2022 are expected to reach over PHP19 billion average daily balance (ADB), or an increase of 637% over its 2019 volume of PHP2.7 billion. One of its more widely-recognized trade business activities include issuances of standby letters of credit (SLBCs) to sellers of goods, on behalf of the bank’s clients, who buy the goods for their operations. Aguilar said that the revival of activity in trade enabled the bank to generate PHP70 billion in issuance throughput in 2022 or more than 20 times the PHP3.4 billion issued in 2019 — the year its trade finance unit was established. “The unparalled expansion in the highly competitive area of trade mirrors the strong partnership of BankCom and SMC in supporting the operational requirements and exigencies of trade-heavy businesses,” Aguilar said. Meanwhile, BankCom reported that its trade fee income grew by 753% from 2019 to 2022. “A close, internal collaboration among our corporate banking, branch banking, and operations groups was essential to making this work despite the challenges the industry has faced,” Aguilar added. About BankCom Bank of Commerce traces its origins to the Overseas Bank of Manila, established in Binondo, Manila in 1963. In December 2020, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) granted the copyright license for “BankCom” as the Bank’s official short name. As a universal bank, BankCom is licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to provide a wide range of financial products and services: deposits, cash management/solutions, payments, lending, asset management, bancassurance, investment banking, foreign exchange and securities trading. The Bank has a network of 140 branches and aims to deploy more automated teller machines (ATMs) in addition to its current fleet of 259.