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City Savings Bank eyes more acquisitions, plans 'branch-lite' units

Philippines-based City Savings Bank Inc. is in talks to acquire other rural lenders, BusinessWorld reported Feb. 15, citing Edwin Bautista, CEO of parent Union Bank of the Philippines.

The move is part of the thrift bank's strategy to pursue expansion, as well as to enter and serve rural areas in the country.

In January, City Savings Bank agreed to acquire 100% of Philippine Resources Savings Banking Corp.'s common shares from ROPALI Group, representing a 66.27% stake.

Earlier in February, the thrift bank, together with Union Properties Inc., agreed to buy a 51% stake in transaction network PETNET Inc. for 1.20 billion Philippine pesos.

In addition, City Savings Bank Chairman Eugene Acevedo said the lender would convert its micro-focused and other banking offices into "branch-lite" units, which are smaller and simplified versions of a brick-and-mortar bank branch in unbanked and underserved areas.

The bank is planning to set up 35 branch-lite offices over the next three months, Acevedo said, noting that it is considering adding a further 20 lite branches.

As of Feb. 14, US$1 was equivalent to 52.11 Philippine pesos.