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Bank of the Philippine Islands to merge 2 microfinance units

Bank of thePhilippine Islands plans to merge two of its thrift bank units tocreate a stronger bank that caters to underserved micro businesses, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Oct.10.

The lender plans to merge its mobile microfinance bankingarm, BanKO, with its internet-based bank for overseas customers, BPI DirectSavings Bank, according to Natividad Alejo, the bank's executive vice presidentand head of retail clients and president of BPI Family Savings Bank.

Bank of the Philippine Islands will also increase the mergedentity's branch network to 100 by 2017, Alejo said.