MANILA, Philippines – Landbank of the Philippines (Landbank) is now led by Lynette Ortiz, who took her oath as president and chief executive officer of the state bank on Wednesday, May 24.
Ortiz, who was appointed in April, succeeds Cecilia Borromeo who served as Landbank chief for four years. This will be Ortiz’s first stint in the public sector.
Prior to assuming the leadership of Landbank, Ortiz led Standard Chartered Bank Philippines as its CEO since October 2016. She also has experience in senior roles in the areas of risk management, treasury, corporate finance, and capital markets. She is the first vice president on the Board of the Bankers Association of the Philippines and is also a member of its Executive Committee.
Ortiz will be steering Landbank through its impending merger with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). The union of the two state banks would form the largest bank in the Philippines by asset and deposit size, although some critics say that combining the banks may distract them from fulfilling their mandates. The proposed merger has also ignited fears that around 3,000 employees of DBP could lose their jobs.
DBP Chairman Dante Tinga had earlier criticized Landbank of being a “dismal failure” for not fulfilling its role as a state agricultural lender. In 2021, Landbank’s loans to the agricultural sector only made up about 30% of all loans, and just 4.4% of the state bank’s loans reached “small farmers and fishers, cooperatives, and farmers’ associates.”
The bank may also have to weather the effects of the El Niño phenomenon that spoils the production of crops and makes it difficult for farmers to pay back their loans. In 2019, the Department of Agriculture estimated that production losses due to El Niño reached P7.96 billion.
Still, as Landbank’s new head, Ortiz has vowed to “build on the gains of Landbank in supporting agriculture and other key industries, expanding financial inclusion, delivering assistance to marginalized and vulnerable sectors, and supporting other players in advancing inclusive development agenda,” according to a press release on Wednesday.
“I recognize the highly important role of Landbank in nation-building, and I am keen to contribute and infuse ideas and innovations that will further fortify the bank in fulfilling its social mandate. I hope to bring in a fresh perspective drawn from my experience working in global organizations,” she said. – Rappler.com
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