Level Up

Thriving in post-pandemic era


Brought to you in part by 

Fil Sionil

Renato Marfil

Gil Cabacungan

Ramon L. Tomeldan

Melissa Luz Lopez
Julito Rada

Erka Capili Inciong

Timi Baylon

What's Inside?

Maharlika Investment Fund and Challenges Ahead  >>

Eli Remolona:
Awesomely Unconventional >>

Chasing History:
The LandBank-DBP Merger Fever >>

The Trilyonaryo Club >>

The Marathon Man of BPI

The View from Roxas Boulevard

Living in These Interesting Times >>

Online Trade Hits the Sweet Spot with Digital Banks Booming

Show-Stopping Inflation Spoiling Market Listings

Favorite Fund Manager

Annual Review


As we usher Bankero into the brave, new world of modern publishing, we look back at the COVID-19 pandemic that has left behind a global economy in a mess. And as a result, the country’s economy has suffered. But not for long.
All things considered, we have now macroeconomic figures indicating we’re poised for a takeoff, fueled by heightened consumer spending, services and corporate borrowings.
This incentivizes us to transform the online website, Bankero, to a magazine that focuses on the banking industry as a major partner in the country's bid for economic growth.
There are numerous stories to tell not only about the banks’ products but also financial architects and policymakers.
On this note, we are extremely upbeat.

- Fil Sionil

Fil Sionil

Editor's Note

In Banks We Trust

Welcome to the newly minted, maiden issue of Bankero, The Magazine – a medium of free expression for the banking community, its stakeholders and all other people who are keen on money matters.

As a multimedia, Bankero combines the easy-to-recall features of the printed words and the seamless reach of the Internet, which incidentally turned 30 last April.
At Bankero, our underlying goal is to bring you all the news that matters from the world of “movers and shakers” of the pandemic-defiant banking industry in one, comprehensive package.

Foremost of these “game changers” is the newly appointed Gov. Eli Remolona of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, who replaces Felipe Medalla. Remolona’s impressive credentials include stints with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Basel-based Bank for International Settlement. As the new chief regulator of BSP, he is expected to be independent, acting as his own man and not as a clone of someone.

As a prologue to the initial Bankero issue, we take a leaf from the book authored by prize-winning writer Penny Lernoux in 1985. The eponymous book In Banks We Trust analyzes the “close links between leading financial institutions and organized crime and examines recent banking scandals in the US.”

This topic is gaining currency anew amid the resurgent cases of scam, fraud and related malpractices perpetrated by organized criminals in connivance with certain financial groups.

That sour note in the financial industry has engendered trust issues between banks and consumers.

Which inevitably leads to the question: Can we trust the banks? Can you trust your bank? Yes, of course, we can! However, the lure of fast buck can be too hard to resist for certain people. And this human weakness is one variable in a complex equation that you have to factor in.

Nevertheless, we hope that Bankero can be your guide to knowing the best banking practices so that you can avoid the pitfalls and the cleverly-designed traps. 

As we live up to our billing, we have lined up a variety of stories, which make this issue a delightful read.

Former BSP Deputy Gov. Diwa C. Guinigundo dissects the Congress-approved
Maharlika Investment Fund in his opinion column.

In “Chasing History”, seasoned business reporter July Rada takes on the long-
stalled merger of Land Bank with another state bank, DBP.

“The Trilyonaryo Club” discusses the rarefied sphere of eight (8) universal
banks, so-called because they have reached the trillion-peso milestone.

The “Marathon Man” digs deep into the “secret” life of top-notch banker TG
Limcaoco and how he has “reinvented” himself as BPI president.

Features writer Melissa Luz Lopez peers into the “View from Roxas Boulevard”
during an interview with Deputy Gov. Chuchi G. Fonacier of the Bangko Sentral. 

The booming trade, known as online payment transactions, that have sparked
digital banking, also gets attention for its novelty in the local market.

We have also come up with a veritable smorgasbord of graphs and charts that
will give you the news at a quick bite.

With meaty stories on the Bankero menu, we can only hope that you’ll enjoy the
reading fare.


Metrobank empowers Filipinos with investment advice through Wealth Insights 

Metrobank brings valuable ideas and insights from the bank’s financial markets experts and partners through an online platform for investors.

Through Wealth Insights (, Metrobank empowers investors to make the right decisions for their investment portfolios through actionable ideas, market-moving updates, and expert advice on wealth creation. Metrobank clients also gain access to Wealth Manager, a comprehensive tool to monitor transactions and keep track of portfolios.
Ruben Zamora, Metrobank’s Head of Institutional Investors Coverage Division, said that while the website offers publicly available content, there are exclusive reports, articles, and top stock and bond picks exclusively for Metrobank clients.

He said Metrobank also partnered with CreditSights, a leading independent global credits research provider, to complement Metrobank’s in-house research efforts for ideas and opportunities in fixed income securities beyond the Philippines.

“It’s more than just managing investments,” said Zamora. “We want to equip our clients with the right knowledge and tools to make smart investment decisions. Our expert team is dedicated to growing and managing our clients’ wealth. This is in keeping with our promise to clients that they’re in good hands.”

He added, however, that Metrobank’s mission goes beyond existing clients.
“We are empowering Filipinos, not just our clients, with financial wisdom. Anyone interested in investing should really tap our market expertise through Wealth Insights,” Zamora said.

Recognized for its outstanding performance, leadership, innovation, and overall contribution to the growth and development of the Philippine financial markets, Metrobank has recently received six accolades, including the prestigious Cesar E.A. Virata Award (Bank Category), at the 2023 Philippine Dealing System (PDS) Awards Night.

Metrobank has also gained multiple recognitions from prestigious institutions for its exceptional performance in the past year. It was recently awarded by Asiamoney as the Best Bank for ultra-high-net-worth clients, and the Best Domestic Private Bank in the Philippines. Last year, Metrobank also brought home major awards from top global financial publications. Euromoney and the Banker named it the Best Bank in the Philippines for 2022. It was also recognized as the Strongest Bank in the Philippines by The Asian Banker for 2021 and 2022.

Metrobank is the country’s second largest private universal bank that empowers both retail and business clients with customized financial products and services fit to help reach their goals and full potential. It has an extensive consolidated network that spans over 940 domestic branches nationwide, more than 2,300 ATMs, and above 30 foreign branches, subsidiaries, and representative offices. The Bank believes that its robust capital position and balance sheet strength will provide ample support as it navigates through uncertain times. As of the first quarter of 2023, its capital ratios are among the highest in the industry, with total CAR at 17.6 percent and Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio at 16.8 percent. Meanwhile, the Bank’s consolidated assets stood at PHP2.9 trillion, making it one of the strongest and well- capitalized banks in the country.