Foreign Banks in the Philippines (2023)

In this month’s VISTA, we want to take a look at the current Foreign Banks in the Philippines and glimpse at some of the changes occurring in the banking sector. As our readers are aware, changes late last year in the Philippine laws have eased up restrictions on Foreign Bank entry and spurred a flurry of activity and weekly news and speculation on Foreign Banks entering the market The entry of these foreign “barbarians” should not be considered as a threat but an opportunity to expand growth in the Philippines and allow the Philippines to connect to cross border opportunities within ASEAN.


Out of a total of 36 Universal and Commercial Banks in the sector, 10 Commercial Banks and 6 Universal Banks are Foreign Bank branches or subsidiaries. These Foreign Banks have a Total Loan Portfolio (TLP) of PHP 452.1bb (10.51bb USD) and represent less than 8.8% of the total Universal and Commercial Bank sector (5,117.88bb PHP/ 119.02bb USD). In terms of Total Assets, Foreign Banks represent 9.9%. Foreign banks have Non Performing Loan (NPL) ratios comparable to the rest of their local peers (2.0% vs. 1.9%) and strong balance sheets but have limited branch networks. Citibank is the largest Foreign Bank by TLP representing 25.6% of the Foreign Bank segment followed by HSBC (12.4%) then Maybank (10.7%). (See Annex for the full list of banks).

Foreign Banks in the Philippines (1)


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In November 2014, the BSP approved Republic Act 10641, which eases regulations and allows for the further entry of Foreign Banks into the country. In addition to removing a cap on the number of banks, the new law also allows Foreign Banks to acquire up to 100 percent of the voting stock of an existing domestic bank and allows Foreign Banks to control up to a combined 40 percent of the total assets of the banking system.

In the last few months, many Foreign Banks have expressed interest and applied for branch or subsidiaries. Three have been approved already: Cathay United Bank- Taiwan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp- Japan, and Shinhan Bank- Korea. According to the Central Bank Deputy Governor, there are also two applications under evaluation and four more banks have expressed interest. The interest seems to stem mostly from Asian Banks possibly given the ASEAN integration and the fact that many of the European and North American banks are busy addressing their own challenges and issues. Many Foreign Banks (13) are already in the Philippines and have a “non banking” presence in the form of representative offices. Singapore Banks dominates the ASEAN banking scene and have a modest presence in the form of rep offices (DBS and OCBC/ Bank of Singapore), worth noting is that United Overseas Bank had a presence but in 2006 it converted to thrift bank and sold its 66 branches to local player BDO. In addition to opening branches or subsidiaries, banks could also acquire or partner with local banks but so far we have not seen any major news on this tactic beside some minority equity sale activity on RCBC (Cathay and IFC) and the rumored sale of some of UCBP shares. Many of the larger banks are part of the wealthy family groups and conglomerates and would not be open to M&A activity. Some of the smaller and mid tier city bank could be candidates.


  • Cross border lending and investments. Many officials are hoping the new entrants will spur increased lending and foreign investment particularly in PPP (Public Private Partnerships) and infrastructure projects which continue to be a cited a weakness in Philippines’ growth strategy and outlook. Many regional banks have private or high net worth clients and institutional services so there are also prospects that there can be more established channels and sources of investments.
  • Possibly increased overall domestic credit/lending. The Philippines has a low Domestic Credit to GDP ratio (29.1%) compared to ASEAN neighbours (see chart). Domestic debt is in the bottom of the pack as well at around 35%. Higher credit and lending helps spur growth driving consumption and investment and possible there would be a modest push to increase credit. Keep in mind that too aggressive lending could also lead to distressed assets, so the Central Bankers and Banking Managers need to find the appropriate lending level to support growth without overleveraging the economy. Foreign Banks in the Philippines (2)
  • OFW remittance costs. The Philippines is number 3 in terms of global remittances after India and China. The entry of some regional bank players might help reduce the cost and burden for the many OFW’s who use these services.
  • Product offerings. Foreign Banks should be able to offer products for underserviced sectors which include the expats or small and medium enterprises (SMEs). For example, it is challenging for foreigners to obtain mortgage loans as many local banks say they will offer loans but with all of the administrative rules and cumbersome requirements most banks practically don’t lend. Offering easier mortgages to cross border expat clients or foreign individual investors could increase condo sales and other investments. Many SMEs face lending rates north of 15% (APR) because of smaller balances sheets or more modest financial statements. Again, this is an opportunity for bank to pick up net interest margin. Many residents of Philippines will also look forward to new banking options and overseas services and global products. New products could offer some increased options and hopefully increase competition and lower prices for consumers on some banking products.


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  • ROPA (Real and Other Properties Acquired). Foreign Banks will face a challenge given limits on foreign ownership of land. They won’t be able to hold ROPA and so will need to create structures and exit strategies to work around this issue or limit lending to just condominium units.
  • Branch Networks. Foreign Banks face the strong infrastructure of the local players with an existing network of over 6,000 branches for Universal and Commercial banks. It is costly and requires a lot of manpower to expand locally so many banks might just opt for a NCR location and compete on international business versus going after any domestic business.

CONCLUSION: "Barbarians at the Gate??"

The Philippine Banking sector continues to be stable and has positive fundamentals. The Commercial and Universal bank NPL key indicator ratios continue to remain low with a 4.1% Distressed Asset ratio and a 1.96% Gross Non-performing loan ratio as of February.

There should be “No worries” about the Foreign Bankers at the gate and these “barbarians” can be welcomed with open arms and bring benefits to the Philippines’ economy. With their current 9.9% asset share of the banking system, the Foreign Banks have some way to go to hit the regulatory ceiling of 40%.

There is plenty of pie and it’s getting bigger so this could be a great benefit not only for the new foreign entrants and consumers in the Philippines but for the ASEAN community as a whole.

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Summary statics and list of Foreign Banks in the Philippines as of December 31, 2014

Foreign Banks in the Philippines (3)

There are 13 Foreign Banks with Representative Offices in the country, as of April 2015

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  • Bank of Singapore Limited Representative Office
  • Barclays Bank PL Representative Office
  • Cathay United Bank Representative Office
  • DBS Bank, Ltd. Representative Office
  • Japan Bank For International Cooperation Representative Office
  • Rothschild (Singapore) Limited Representative Office
  • State Bank of India Representative Office
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Representative Office
  • The Bank of New York Mellon Representative Office
  • The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank)
  • UBS AG Representative Office
  • Wells Fargo Bank, National Association Representative Office
  • Korea Development Bank Representative Office
  • 3 Foreign Banks have offshore banking units: Taiwan Cooperative Bank, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan

    There are also several Foreign “Investment” Banks and reputable Broker/dealers operating in the Philippines not touched upon in this report.


    Which international banks operate in the Philippines? ›

    The commercial banking system includes three U.S. foreign-branch banks: Citibank, which operates six full-service Citibank branches in key locations in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu; Bank of America; and JP Morgan Chase.

    What are the 4 foreign banks that will enter Philippines? ›


    Three have been approved already: Cathay United Bank- Taiwan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp- Japan, and Shinhan Bank- Korea. According to the Central Bank Deputy Governor, there are also two applications under evaluation and four more banks have expressed interest.

    What is the best international bank in Philippines? ›

    Top 6 Best Banks in the Philippines in 2022
    • Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) This list wouldn't be complete without one of the oldest and most reputable banks in the country. ...
    • Metrobank. ...
    • Security Bank. ...
    • UnionBank. ...
    • CIMB Bank Philippines. ...
    • Tonik Digital Bank.
    11 Oct 2022

    Which are the 19 foreign banks? ›

    As of now, there are 46 Foreign Banks in India in 2022.
    Foreign Banks In India: Top Foreign Banks And Their Headquarters In India
    • Standard Chartered Bank.
    • Bank of America.
    • Citi Bank.
    • DBS Bank.
    • HSBC India.
    • Deutsche Bank.
    17 Nov 2022

    Is BDO a foreign bank? ›

    BDO is a full-service universal bank in the Philippines.

    Which bank can I use worldwide? ›

    Here are NerdWallet's picks for best banks for international travel:
    • Charles Schwab Bank: Best for using ATMs.
    • Capital One 360: Best on foreign transaction fees.
    • HSBC Bank: Best for expats with high balances.
    • Citibank: Best for wiring money.
    • Revolut: Best for nonbank multicurrency account.
    19 Aug 2022

    Which bank in Philippines has visa? ›

    CIMB Bank Philippines is an issuer partner of Visa. The Visa debit card allows CIMB Bank customers to perform ATM withdrawals, make in-store purchases, and transact online locally or overseas.

    How can I open a foreign bank account in the Philippines? ›

    Opening an Account with Overseas Filipino Bank
    1. Go directly to OFB to open an account. ...
    2. You may also apply online. ...
    3. Don't forget to bring and present your valid identification cards (IDs).
    4. Choose the type of account you need (e.g. savings, checking, time deposit, etc.).
    5. Opening an account is free.

    Is Bank of America available in Philippines? ›

    Our onshore platform in the Philippines provides a range of capabilities, including Foreign Exchange, Cash Management and Trade Finance. You can also leverage on our global platforms in Investment Banking Advisory services, International Debt and Equity Capital Markets, Fixed Income Markets and Funding and Leasing.

    Can I open an account in Bank of America in the Philippines? ›

    You must be living in the U.S. to open your account. You'll need to provide both a foreign and U.S. address, as well as two forms of ID and a tax identification number.

    Can a foreigner open a BDO account? ›

    Can I apply for a BDO account online if I am a foreigner? Yes, as long as you have a valid resident visa and resident address in the Philippines. Just submit your Passport (with English characters) and a second ID from the list of acceptable IDs (i.e. ACR I-Card, National ID for select countries).

    Can a foreigner open a BPI account? ›

    For foreign nationals:

    Passport. Alien Certificate of Registration issued by the Bureau of Immigration. Other identification documents that can be verified using reliable, independent source documents, data or information.

    What are foreign banks examples? ›

    The list includes American Express Banking Corporation, Barclays Bank Plc, Bank of America, Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait BSC, Citibank N.A, Deutsche Bank, DBS Bank India Limited, Emirates Bank NBD, HSBC Ltd, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank, and others.

    What are the top 10 international banks? ›

    This can lower or even outweigh potential returns.
    • Industrial and Commercial Bank Of China Ltd. (IDCBY)
    • JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM)
    • Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. ...
    • China Construction Bank Corp. (CICHY)
    • Bank of America Corp. ( BAC)
    • Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (ACGBY)
    • Credit Agricole SA (CRARY)
    • Wells Fargo & Co. ( WFC)

    Which is the largest foreign bank? ›

    The largest private foreign bank is Standard Chartered Bank from London. It has 100 branches across the nation.

    Is BPI an international bank? ›

    BPI has a worldwide remittance network so you can remit to your account. Get your remittance fast and securely. The freedom to bank anywhere, anytime is yours to enjoy with BPI Online Banking. Here are our overseas offices.

    Is Metrobank an international bank? ›

    Metrobank rolled out its first international branch in Taipei in 1970 and a representative office in Hong Kong in 1973. In 1975, Metrobank became the first of the private banks to move into American territory when it opened its office in Guam.

    Does BPI have international branches? ›

    As of December 31, 2021, BPI has 869 branches, including five express banking centers, across the country. Overseas, BPI has one branch in Hong Kong and two branches in London. BPI also has 2,117 automated teller machines and 340 cash accept machines.

    Which ATM works all world? ›

    International debit cards can prove to be extremely convenient when travelling abroad. With these cards, you can access ATMs anywhere in the world and forget the inconvenience of converting currencies. State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, and Yes Bank are some of the banks which offer international debit cards.

    Which ATM card is accepted worldwide? ›

    The FCMB International Debit Card is a card which can be used for ATM cash withdrawals, Bills payments and purchases/payments for goods and services via POS terminals and online anywhere in the world.

    Where can I open a foreign bank account? ›

    Bottom line
    1. HSBC Home page.
    2. HSBC ATM Locations & Services.
    3. HSBC Open an International Bank Account.
    4. Charles Schwab Open an Account.
    5. Charles Schwab Online Checking Account with Free Checks and ATM Fee Rebates | Schwab Bank.
    6. Citibank Offshore Banking, Global Bank Account, Open Offshore Account.
    7. Capital One.
    15 Feb 2022

    Can I use Landbank ATM abroad? ›

    The LANDBANK Visa Debit Card allows you to shop online, pay bills, and purchase over the phone and via mail. The card can be used at over 40 million merchants and over two million ATMs worldwide where the Visa logo is displayed.

    What is the number 1 bank in the Philippines? ›


    What is the best ATM card to use in Philippines? ›

    The Best Debit Cards in the Philippines (2019)
    Debit CardInitial Deposit
    Debit Mastercard via Kaya Saving by BPIP200
    EON Visa Debit Card by Union BankP350 for the annual fee; any amount at your discretion.
    Visa Debit Card by LandbankP500
    Mastercard and Visa ATM Debit by BDOP2,000
    1 more row
    12 Jun 2019

    Can I open a bank account in another country without being a citizen? ›

    Can I open a bank account in another country without being a citizen? Yes, but you will likely need to provide extra documentation to verify your identity, place of residence, and the legal purpose of the account.

    Is landbank and overseas Filipino bank the same? ›

    OFBank is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Land Bank of the Philipines (LANDBANK) created in pursuant to Executive Order No. 44 signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in September 2017.

    Can I open BPI account online while abroad? ›

    You can open an account anytime, anywhere.

    Do they have Chase bank in the Philippines? ›

    JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. – Manila Branch (JPMCB Manila Branch) is a commercial bank regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Does Wells Fargo have banks in Philippines? ›

    Wells Fargo Philippines, located at McKinley Hill, Bonifacio Global City, is primarily an extension of the operations, knowledge services, and corporate support teams of Wells Fargo.

    Do they have Wells Fargo in the Philippines? ›

    Wells Fargo India & Philippines is a critical component of Wells Fargo's strategy to leverage distinct advantages in doing business in a global environment. Wells Fargo India & Philippines is primarily an extension of the technology, operations, and corporate support teams of Wells Fargo.

    What is a universal bank in the Philippines? ›

    Under the General Banking Law of 2000 (GBL), a universal bank is defined as a commercial bank with the additional authority to exercise the powers of an investment house and invest in non-allied enterprises. An ordinary commercial bank does not have that authority.

    Can a Balikbayan open a bank account in the Philippines? ›

    Anyone can open a bank account in the Philippines. In the past, non-residents, including those holding a temporary visitor's visa, couldonly open a foreign currency deposit account, or a peso account funded by foreign currency deposits converted to peso.

    Is Citibank in the Philippines? ›

    Citi operates full-service Citibank branches in key locations in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. The organization is also recognized as the pioneer in business process outsourcing.

    Can a foreigner own a house in the Philippines? ›

    Foreigners are prohibited from owning land in the Philippines, but can legally own a residence. The Philippine Condominium Act allows foreigners to own condo units, as long as 60% of the building is owned by Filipinos. If you want to buy a house, consider a long-term lease agreement with a Filipino landowner.

    What documents do I need to open a bank account as a foreigner? ›

    At least two forms of government-issued ID, such as a valid driver's license or passport. Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) (If you're a non-citizen and don't have a Social Security number, you'll likely need to have an ITIN.)

    Can I open a BDO account online while abroad? ›

    For clients enrolling outside the Philippines:
    1. Go to
    2. Click “Online Banking Login” > “Enroll Now”.
    3. Select “Outside the Philippines” , fill-out the form and click on “Submit”.
    4. Wait for a call from our BDO Customer Service Officer to verify your enrollment within five (5) working days.

    Can I open a bank account in Philippines online while abroad? ›

    Can I open a bank account from abroad? Due to documentation requirements, it isn't possible to open a Philippine bank account online. However, that doesn't mean you have to wait until you move to get started.

    What is the easiest country to open a bank account? ›

    Generally, Belize is considered one of the easiest countries to have a bank account. The reason behind the popularity of Belize is its stability. To begin with, Belize's offshore banking system is among the most stable in the world based on its liquidity rates.

    Can I open a bank account if im tourist? ›

    Thus, yes, tourists can open bank accounts even if they do not own a SIN, but depending on the financial institutions of their choice.

    How many foreign banks are there? ›

    There are a total of 45 International Banks in India which have around 300 branches mostly located in major cities of Indian states.

    What is a foreign bank account? ›

    Generally, an account at a financial institution located outside the United States is a foreign financial account. Whether the account produced taxable income has no effect on whether the account is a foreign financial account for FBAR purposes.

    What is a foreign bank account called? ›

    A domiciliary account is a type of current account that allows you to fund it with foreign currencies such as dollars, pounds or euros and enables you to do foreign transactions on that account. You can use a domiciliary account to transfer money to another country or receive foreign currency from another country.

    Which bank is No 1 in world? ›

    Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Limited

    What is the safest international bank? ›

    List of TOP safest banks in the world
    • Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, GERMANY.
    • Nederlandse Waterschapsbank, NETHERLANDS.
    • L-Bank, GERMANY.
    • Kommunalbanken, NORWAY.
    • Swedish Export Credit Corporation, SWEDEN.
    • Caisse des Depots et Consignations, FRANCE.
    3 Sept 2022

    Which bank has the most foreign branches? ›

    Standard Chartered is the largest foreign bank in India. As of 2020, there are 46 international banks in India.

    What is the strongest bank in the world? ›

    Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited

    What is the richest bank on earth? ›

    Industrial & Commercial Bank of China

    What is the most powerful bank? ›

    JPMorgan Chase is the top largest bank in the US, with a balance sheet total of $2.87 trillion.
    Want more. research?
    RankBank NameTotal Assets
    1JPMorgan Chase$2.87 Trillion
    2Bank of America$2.16 Trillion
    3Wells Fargo & Co.$1.75 Trillion
    4Citigroup$1.65 Trillion
    6 more rows

    How many international banks are there in the Philippines? ›

    There are 28 foreign banks in the Philippines as of September 2021.

    Does HSBC operate in Philippines? ›

    HSBC has been operating in the Philippines since 1875 and is licensed to operate as a universal bank. As one of the oldest banks in the Philippines, HSBC offers a full range of banking and financial services.

    Which bank in Philippines has Visa? ›

    CIMB Bank Philippines is an issuer partner of Visa. The Visa debit card allows CIMB Bank customers to perform ATM withdrawals, make in-store purchases, and transact online locally or overseas.

    Is BPI international bank? ›

    BPI has a worldwide remittance network so you can remit to your account. Get your remittance fast and securely. The freedom to bank anywhere, anytime is yours to enjoy with BPI Online Banking. Here are our overseas offices.

    Is China bank owned by BDO? ›

    SM Investments Corporation's (SMIC) banking business consists of BDO Unibank, Inc., the country's largest bank and China Banking Corporation, the first and one of the oldest privately owned local commercial banks in the country.

    Does PNB have international banking? ›

    PNB maintains its position as the Philippine bank with the most extensive international reach with more than 70 overseas branches, representative offices, remittance centers and subsidiaries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

    How do I open an international bank account with HSBC? ›

    What documents will I need to apply?
    1. your employment, income and tax details.
    2. valid proof of identity, such as your passport, driving license or national ID.
    3. proof of address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.
    4. additional documents, subject to qualification status, local laws and regulations.


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