Philippines’ deregulation drive lacks steam

Author: Brian Yap | Published: 23 Feb 2016

The Philippines government has, after a one-year hiatus, acted to boost the country’s financial services industry with the lifting of a 17-year moratorium on new bank licenses, as it seeks to revive its $210-billion lending sector.

The Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas, the country’s central bank, announced on February 10 that it would launch a two-phased lifting of its moratorium on licenses issued to banks to open branches.

But counsel are pessimistic about the possibility of more local and foreign banks setting up branches following the removal of clamps on new bank licenses, citing a lack of financial incentives.    

"The lifting of the moratorium is very welcome but I am not very confident that there will be many takers," said Mia Gentugaya, senior partner and head of...