Metrobank elects Ty as new chair, Dee as president

CHANGING OF GUARDS. Antonio Abacan Jr (Left) ends 5-year term as chairman of Metrobank and Arthur Ty (Center), the son of the bank's founder, takes over the top board post. Fabian Dee (Right) assumes Ty's vacated post as president. Photos from Metrobank's 2011 annual report.

MANILA, Philippines – Changes at the top at Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) were confirmed on Wednesday, April 25, ending speculations on who will be the new leaders at the country’s second largest bank.

After the annual stockholders meeting, where board members were increased to 14 from 12, directors met to vote the new chairman and president since Antonio Abacan Jr. is stepping down as current chair, leaving a void.

Arthur Ty moves up as chairman while Fabian Dee, currently the Senior Executive Vice President, takes over as the new president.

The rigodon was largely influenced by the move of the group led by tycoon George S.K. Ty to expand into other businesses, including power generation, through GT Capital Holdings, which raised P21 billion in a recent initial public offering.

Abacan, a homegrown and trusted talent, is seen to help steer the group as it embarks on these new ventures. However, he reportedly will stay on as a member of the Advisory Board of Metrobank, the group’s crown jewel.

New chairman, president

Dee may not be a homegrown like Abacan, given his previous role in Security Bank as head of Treasury and Middle Market groups, but has gained enough experience and trust of the controlling stockholders during his stint in the different businesses in the group, including FMIC Securities and Toyota.

In Metrobank, he has headed a key marketing business center, the account management group, and before his recent promotion, was leading the branch banking unit since 2006. Metrobank has 780 branches nationwide.

The younger Ty, on the other hand, was being groomed for the past 5 years to take over the helm of the bank that his father founded. Arthur Ty has been the bank’s president since 2006. At 44 he is also the youngest president in the local commercial banking industry.

Metrobank reported P11 billion net profits in 2011, a 31.9% increase. It also ended the year with P958.4 billion total resources and P681 billion total deposits. Its loan portfolio of P457.4 billion reflected a 16.7% increase.

Ty said the bank is aiming to grow its loan portfolio by at least 10% this 2012.

Impeachment

The changing of the guards at Metrobank recently became more than an industry and business news after its affiliate, Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) was dragged in the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Peso and dollar accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona were included by the prosecution team as evidence of Corona’s alleged unexplained wealth. PSBank president Pascual Garcia III was called on as one of the impeachment trial witnesses but stood pat on not divulging details about Corona’s dollar deposits, citing deposit secrecy laws.

For opting to defend the bank against possible backlash of clients who consider deposit secrecy as crucial in building and keeping trust, Garcia was one of those considered for the top post at Metrobank, the parent firm.

Garcia told the Senators that he had written to his superiors at the bank that if ever the bank presidency is offered to him, he will decline it.

Investors remained confident in PSBank. The P3 billion bonds that PSBank floated even during the impeachment trial was twice oversubscribed.

PSBank is the 2nd largest thrift bank in the Philippines. Its healthy revenues from retail loans, including vehicle and housing, helped boost Metrobank’s 2011 profits of P11 billion.

At the Metrobank stockholders meeting on April 25, the audience was largely elated about the bank’s healthy profits than the political limelight the bank was thrust into.

“This group definitely knows their business,” an independent board director shared to Rappler at the sidelines. – Rappler.com