Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Sultan Kudarat province are getting another boost with the upcoming expansion in Tacurong City of the Gotianum-led East West Banking Corporation or EastWest Bank.
Erwin Garcia, chair of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Small and Medium Enterprises Development (PSMED) Council, said EastWest Bank has formally signified to open a branch in Tacurong City as part of its ongoing expansion program in Mindanao.
He said the bank, which is considered as among the top private financial institutions in the country that cater to the MSME sector, finalized the move following a visit in the area last July of real estate tycoon Andrew Gotianun, chair of EastWest Bank’s parent firm Filinvest Development Corporation.
Gotianun, who is number 17 in Forbes Magazine’s list of richest people in the Philippines for 2012, personally gave the go signal for the expansion after being impressed with Tacurong City’s business and investment prospects.
“Mr. Gotianun may have heard about the booming business economy in the city through (his vast) partnerships and networks,” Garcia said in a statement.
Garcia said the bank has started to transact with concerned groups and individuals for the establishment of its Tacurong City branch.
Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla said EastWest Bank’s expansion mainly shows that the city remains an attractive trade and investment destination.
“This kind of investment asserts the city’s capability in sustaining businesses and enterprises. Rest assured that the city government will continue to support the business sector as this is vital for the city’s sustained progress,” the mayor said.
Montilla said strategies have been formulated and employed by the local government to make the city more business-friendly as well as attract more investors and generateg more employment opportunities for local residents.
Among these are the establishment of the Tacurong Investment Assistance Center and the passage of the Tacurong Local Investment and Incentive Code, she said.
EastWest Bank evolved from a consumer business founded by Andrew L. Gotianun Sr. in 1955 that has become one of the country’s premier conglomerates, with business interests in real estate development, banking, hospitality and tourism, power-generation and the sugar business.
The bank presently operates a total of 150 branches nationwide, including one that was opened recently in nearby Koronadal City.
EastWest had forged an agreement with International Finance Corporation (IFC) to open up its lending and other banking services to MSMEs.