The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) on its Annual Membership Meeting held on March 15, 2021 highlighted its support to the banking industry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“2020 is a year navigating through unchartered territories. The COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything we have faced before,” Benjamin Castillo, BAP Managing Director, said. “It is during these times that we have further demonstrated BAP’s unparalleled support to the banking industry and its members. This will remain a reality for a long time.”

The BAP helped in the development of important laws to guide the Philippine economy into recovery. The association worked with Congress on the creation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan I), Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II), and the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act.

“We were pleased to see our inputs incorporated in the Bayanihan I and II, FIST, and AMLA bills which were signed into law, and the Agri-Agra, GUIDE, PDIC Charter Change, and Bank Secrecy bills which now await further deliberation in Congress,” Cezar Consing, BAP President and Chairman, said.

The BAP also provided strategic inputs to and collaborated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on regulations that will have a significant impact on the industry, such as the proposed creation of the Open Finance Framework as well as the creation of a separate license for digital banks.

Now, more than ever, the BAP intensified its fight against cybercrime by enhancing education campaigns to the general public and skills training sessions to bank personnel as cases of cyber fraud increased during the pandemic.

“Tough times bring out the best in good organizations. Given the unique challenges of the past year, the quality, intensity, and output of the BAP’s engagement with regulators, lawmakers, and our many other publics uphold this truth,” Mr. Consing said.

BAP member banks elected Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso, Philippine National Bank’s President and CEO, as the new President during the annual membership meeting. Mr. Veloso, who succeeds Mr. Consing, is set to continue the association’s success in promoting the banking industry’s welfare.

“I am very honored to be elected as president of the BAP. I look forward to collaborating with the Government to support their efforts and look for ways to speed up the recovery of the economy. We will work with the Government, its lawmakers and our regulators especially in building, enhancing or amending banking laws and regulations to help promote economic activity safely,” Mr. Veloso said.

Other new officers who were also elected are Cecilia C. Borromeo, Land Bank of the Philippines’ President and CEO, as First Vice President; Hans B. Sicat, ING Bank’s Country Manager and Head of Clients, as Second Vice President; Edwin R. Bautista, UnionBank’s President and CEO, as Treasurer; and Sanjiv Vohra, Security Bank’s President and CEO, as Secretary.

New members of the board of directors include representatives from the Bank of China, Bank of Commerce, BDO Unibank, China Banking Corporation, Development Bank of the Philippines, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, ING Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metrobank, Mizuho Bank Ltd. Manila Branch, Philippine National Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Security Bank, and Union Bank.

“Today, we turn over the leadership of the BAP to a new board and a new set of officers. I know we will be in very good hands,” Mr. Consing said in his remarks. “The role of leading the BAP is both an honor and a gift, and one that I am grateful to have had.”