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Philippine National Bank (PNB) president and chief executive officer Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso is the new president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).

The 45-strong BAP member banks elected Veloso as the new president during the annual membership meeting Monday.  He succeeded Cesar “Bong” Consing of the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI).

The other new officers elected are Land Bank of the Philippines’ president and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo as first vice president; ING Bank country manager and head Hans B. Sicat as second vice president.

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Treasurer is Union Bank president and CEO Edwin R. Bautista while Security Bank president and CEO Sanjiv Vohra is the secretary.

The 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, HSBC Corporation Ltd., ING Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Land Bank, Metrobank, Mizuho Bank Ltd. Manila Branch, PNB, Standard Chartered Bank, Security Bank, and Union Bank.

Veloso vowed 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,” Veloso said in a statement.

He added: “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.”

In parting, Consing expressed his appreciation of the support given him by the BAP board during his two-year stint. 

“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. The role of leading the BAP is both an honor and a gift, and one that I am grateful to have had,” Consing said.

Meanwhile, BAP managing director Benjamin Castillo said the association would continue to work in partnership with the Bangko sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in crafting structural measures to further boost the country’s economic recovery.

The BAP provided strategic inputs to and collaborated with the 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.

Castillo described 2020 as a year both the government and the private sector navigated through unchartered territories brought about by the invisible COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything we have faced before. 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,” he said.

The BAP 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,” Consing said.

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,” explained Consing.


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