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The making of a president


Fil C. Sionil

Fil C. Sionil

How time flies. Five weeks from now, the first quarter will be over. It, too, will be over for the presidency of Nestor V. Tan. The president and chief executive officer of BDO Universal Bank will be turning over the helm of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), which he shepherded in the last three years, next month.

This early, bets are on that BAP leadership will be a toss-up between the current first vice presidents EastWest Bank Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer Antonio “Tony” Moncupa, Jr. and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) President Cesar “Bong” Consing.

The leadership of BAP is almost always an interesting issue for a market watcher because the group plays a significant role in tandem with the regulators, notably, the monetary authorities and other economic players “for the continued financial stability as well as the economic development of the country.” Also, this year is a milestone for BAP as celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Mr. Tony, described by some of his colleagues as “always the bride’s maid never, been a bride” in the BAP leadership, would have been the president but Mr. Nestor got elected, steering the influential group from his brother, then Rizal Commercial Bank Corp. (RCBC) Lorenzo V. Tan.

The dark horse in the race is Metropolitan Bank (Metrobank) President Fabian Dee. Metrobank, the institution, is coming back into the circle of BAP’s board of directors after a year of hiatus as specified in the BAP articles of incorporation and by laws. Similarly, RCBC and Security Bank will be back in the loop. RCBC will be represented by seasoned banker Eugene Acevedo who is scheduled to head lender end of the second quarter with the retirement of Gil Buenaventura.

Mr. Eugene will be a first timer. Although, he became president of Philippine National Bank (PNB), he was not the bank’s BAP representative. With the retirement of Atty. Reynaldo Maclang last year, PNB Chair Florencia G. Tarriela, for now, sits in the BAP board.

It is interesting to note that the BAP by laws have been carefully crafted to include a four-year cycle or limit for an individual banker, who represents the institution. This provision, which prevents perpetuation (in the political field, it means no family dynasty) was included in recognition of the fact, that like journalists who would transfer from one newspaper to another, bankers or chief executive officers likewise, move from one lender to another.

Mr. Nestor has already met the four-year cap this year, having been elected to the BAP board and then re-elected thrice as allowed. Mr. Tony, on the other hand, still has at least one or two years more as EastWest representative.

Election fever is on in the political arena. Will the frontrunners be campaigning among member-institutions which, based on the latest count, has more foreign banks members at 23 and 21 domestic lenders? Let’s watch how this will unravel.

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