China Bank — Henry Sy of SM Owns Almost 20 Percent

Why are there China Bank branches inside SM malls? 

What’s special about this bank? Why is it allowed to compete with BDO?  I got curious.

I found out from China Bank’s website that SM founder Henry Sy owns 19.87 percent of the total shares issued by the bank, as of March 31 this year. Mr. Sy is also the honorary chairman of the board and adviser to the board.

Mr. Sy owns, directly and indirectly thru several of his firms, 21,311,762 shares of the 107,260,617 outstanding shares issued by China Bank as of March 31, 2011.

In 2006, in an interview with Henry Sy by Wilson Lee Flores of The Philippine STAR, Mr. Sy said that it’s not  his practice to get loans. He, however, related that in 1949, he got his first credit line from China Bank, at the bank’s head office at Juan Luna Street cor Dasmarinas Street in Binondo, Manila. He added that the credit line was one million pesos, and was approved by Mr. Yap Tian Siang.

This 2006 interview also mentioned that Henry Sy owned more than 70 percent of China Bank at that time.

Significant events in the history of China Bank:

The bank was founded in August 1920 by bar topnotcher Don Albino Sycip and philanthropist Mr. Dee C. Chuan.

In 2007, China Bank formed with Manulife their joint venture Bancassurance. Later, it also acquired Manila Bank.

On September 8, 2008,China Bank launched its savings bank subsidiary called China Bank Savings, Inc. or ChinaBank Savings.

Additional notes:

As of March this year, 62,043,963 shares or 57.844 percent of total China Bank shares are currently owned by the public and 25,819,526 shares or 24.07 percent are owned by foreigners, complying with the foreign ownership limit of 30 percent.

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