In Good Hands

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About the Writers Former Philippine Undersecretary of Education ISAGANI R. CRUZ (Ph.D., University of Maryland) teaches at De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of Santo Tomas. He belongs to the Hall of Fame of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature. He is the founding Chair of the Manila Critics Circle. He writes for the Philippine Star. FELICE PRUDENTE STA. MARIA is a commissioner of the UNESCO National Commission. She was a former commissioner for cultural heritage of the National Museums (NCOM) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in the Philippines. She writes on Philippine history and culture. Dr. Alice G. Guillermo studied at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in France as a scholar of the French Government, and at the University of the Philippines where she obtained her doctoral degree in Philippine Studies. She writes on art, culture, and politics, and was awarded the Centennial Honoree for the Arts by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. J. Albert Gamboa writes on banking, securities, telecommunications and energy in his column for the Business World. He has an MBA from the University of the Philippines and is an Economics graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University.

In Good Hands (The Metrobank Story) by multi-awarded writer, columnist and critic, Dr. Isagani Cruz is a poignant retelling of how the country’s premier bank, the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company or Metrobank, began as a young man’s ardent dream. Dr. George S.K. Ty was that young man in the 1950s whose seemingly simple desire—“to make money so I can give money”—had become a life long commitment, integral to his personal life, and also to Metrobank, the bank that he founded. Today 48 years after its creation in 1962, Metrobank is one of the largest universal banks in the Philippines with over 500 branches and offices nationwide. Its presence is felt in over 30 countries, one of which is the Republic of China whose government gave Metrobank the first ever license to operate in its country, because of Dr. Ty’s impeccable reputation as a banker. More than a chronicle of milestones that have made Metrobank the leader that it is in its industry, In Good Hands is a case study of the fascinating combination of business and philanthropy. The Metrobank Foundation is the fulfilment of Dr. Ty’s aspiration to help the less privileged and to raise the bar in its search for outstanding teachers, students, policemen and other deserving Filipinos. The story of Metrobank also reveals the core values of discipline, loyalty, honesty, integrity and teamwork that are lived and employed daily by thousands of Metrobankers who cheerfully serve the Bank’s customers. In Good Hands confirms that on Day One of the existence of Metrobank, its customers were really and truly already—in very good hands.


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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story


Contents 16

Foreword

20

Preface

23

Introduction

32

Chapter 1

63

Chapter 2

93

Chapter 3:

139

Chapter 4:

139

Chapter 5:

The Metrobank Philosophy The Beginnings (1962-1978)

Growing with the Community (1979-1990) Leading the Banking Industry (1991-2003) Banking on the Future (2004-2009) The Metrobank Foundation

Special Features: 123

A Global Perspective

187

The Metrobank Conglomerate

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The Metrobank Art Collection

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Culture and Traditions


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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story

George S.K. Ty Founder & Group Chairman, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company


INTRODUCTION The Metrobank Philosophy

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The Metrobank Philosophy Introduction


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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story

The Beginnings Chapter 1

1962-1978 Metrobank Divisoria branch



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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story


Chapter 1 The Beginnings, 1962-1978

“ When I was still a very young boy, and could hardly even run yet, my mother and grandmother would say to me over and over that, one day, they were going to make me a kabise (chief foreman) and train me to have a business of my own.”

George S.K. Ty

I

n the year Metrobank was founded, 1962, the world was not in very good shape. The world was on the verge of a nuclear war, with the United States facing down the Soviet Union over missiles in Cuba. China and India were at war. The Vietnam War was escalating. The Berlin Wall was firmly in place. Newspapers went on strike in New York City. Even religious circles were in a state of uncertainty because of Pope John XIII’s convening of the first ecumenical council of the century. In contrast, the Philippines was doing well. Ahead of all its Asian neighbors, it had a good economy, good infrastructure, good government, and a working democracy. It had a very helpful set of laws, which almost everybody respected and followed. Into the Philippine banking scene strode Ty Siao Kian. Putting much value on the meanings of names, the Chinese community had earlier singled him out as a man most likely to succeed, if only because his Chinese names stood for youth (siao) and persistence (kian). That he was young was obvious. George S.K. Ty had been born in 1933, merely 24 years earlier, to Norberto Ty and Victoria Ty Tan, who had emigrated to the Philippines from Hong Kong shortly after he was born. A brief look at his childhood reveals the roots of his philosophy. His parents had settled down in Tondo, in the heart of old Manila, the soul of the archipelago. Tondo was a very old town at

George S. K. Ty (opposite page) at the age of 25. His parents, Ty Chong Yong (Norberto Ty) (top) and Victoria Ty Tan (bottom), migrants from China in the early 1930s, taught the young George the meaning of hard work and discipline, the values that their son imbibed and practiced throughout his entire banking career.

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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story

George S.K. Ty (extreme left), in his early twenties, managed his father, Norberto’s flour business (fourth from right). It was in the course of transacting with a bank for the flour mill that George Ty became determined to be involved in the financial services industry.

Tondo, an old town in the heart of old Manila populated by rich Filipinos during the Spanish era, became a district of poor and struggling Manileños after the war. This is where the Tys settled.

that time, with a long and glorious history dating back to at least 900 A.D. Before it became a mere district of the city of Manila, Tondo was a province that extended to the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal. While George Ty was growing up there, Tondo was transforming rapidly from being a province of rich and elegant Filipinos to a district of poor and struggling Manileños. George Ty himself does not mind talking about how poor his family was before the war. “I grew up inTondo,” he said in his speech to the Management Association of the Philippines in 2007. “My mother remembers my having only one pair of denim pants.” His parents instilled in him two values–discipline and industry. By carefully managing the family’s assets and making


Chapter 1 The Beginnings, 1962-1978

sure that everyone worked 24/7, his parents were able to put up a flour business. George Ty learned everything he had to learn about business from his parents. “I started out working for my father’s flour business,” he said in his speech. “By the time I was 19 years old, I was running a business with equipment and raw materials worth US$6 million.” He made it sound easy, but in reality, it was not easy at all. In a Chinese biography entitled “A Man with a Word of Honor: A Compassionate Businessman,” George Ty reveals why his father trusted him with the flour business. “No one in my family knew about anything industrial,” he says. “So, as a Chinese saying goes, my father ‘pointed to a donkey and called him a horse.’ I was not even a donkey. I was only just a small dog. But then a small dog can also be handy.” The problem then was where to get money to finish the flour mill. George Ty recalls the difficulties faced by his family: “Banks were very conservative. No bank wanted to lend me money. Everybody said, ‘How can a 20-something youngster manage such a big business?’ They refused to do business with us. We were afraid our family would go bankrupt, since we had already mortgaged our properties in order to borrow money to start constructing. But the mill was only 80% complete and we no longer had any money. I did not understand it at that time. Why did people, who were doing well anyway, suddenly refuse to lend me more money? Eventually, I found a bank that was willing to help us out–the Development Bank of the Philippines. The manager said that he could risk lending me money because the mill was going to be finished soon anyway.” Once the flour mill was up, job orders came quickly. Within two years, George Ty had repaid all the loans.

He learned everything he had to learn about business from his parents who instilled in him the values of discipline and industry.

The young hardworking George S.K. Ty was consumed with the dream of one day opening a bank.

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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story

�I told everybody to remember that people trusted us with their money. We have to be worthy of their trust. If a bank is put up only to make money, it will not be successful. Banking is a social business.� George S.K.Ty


Chapter 1 The Beginnings, 1962-1978

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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story

Growing with the Community Chapter 2

1979-1990

The Metrobank Plaza on Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati.


Chapter 1 The Beginnings, 1962-1978

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In Good Hands The Metrobank Story

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Chapter 2 Growing with the Community, 1979-1990

“ We believe that our country can only develop fully if our citizens are given the opportunity to push the limits of their potential.”

George S.K. Ty

E

ven with the worsening economic outlook due to both Philippine and global conditions, George Ty did not forget his original vision when he established the Bank. He wanted to give money, not just make money. “Helping people is an opportunity,” he once said. “That’s why there is the very popular word “win-win”. Of course, you make money, but the other people are also benefited. You achieve what you want, and you help them with what they want. That is the kind of business that I like to go into.” Even before he formally established a foundation to take charge of charitable donations, he would give substantial amounts to various charities. For example, over the years, he supported the Vietnamese refugees, Educational Research and Development, Asido de San Vicente de Paul, the White Cross Children’s Home, and Nayon ng Kabataan. He wanted to establish a foundation from the first day he established the Bank. He wanted the foundation, unlike some foundations that operated independently from their mother corporations, to be part and parcel of Metrobank itself, with the Foundation having shares in the Bank and all Bank employees joining the Foundation activities. Elvira Ong Chan remembers the early days, when George Ty would talk about his dreams for the future. “We will have the biggest foundation in the country,” she remembers him saying, “that will have the distinction of being the Rockefeller Foundation of the Philippines. That is our way of paying back to society what we have.” Adds Chan, “at that time, no banks talked of putting up foundations.”

Above: Chariman George S.K. Ty with Barbara Charez Espiritu, a social service patient at the Manila Doctors Hospital. Opposite page: The duo that guided Metrobank through its early years toward a path of growth—Metrobank President Andres V. Castillo and Chairman George S.K. Ty.

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In Good Hands

The Metrobank Story

“In the Philippines, we had to grow organically by opening branches. In two years, we opened 100 branches or 50 branches a year. That’s one branch a week! Simultaneously, we opened offices and branches overseas to serve Filipinos working in Hongkong, Japan, Korea, China, UAE, USA and other countries.” Antonio S. Abacan Jr.


Chapter 3 Leading the Banking Industry, 1991-2003

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Banking on the Future Chapter 4

2004-Present



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In Good Hands

The Metrobank Story


Chapter 4 Banking on the Future, 2004-2008

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“Metrobank is an institution that puts the highest priority and importance on corporate governance. It is the cornerstone of our business growth, profitability, and long-term sustainability, enabling us to uphold the best interest of all our stakeholders at all times.”

Arthur Ty

T

2004

he Filipino proverb puts it figuratively: Those that do not lookback at where they have been will never get to where they want to go. To understand where Metrobank is going, it is important to summarize where it has been. In a sense, the future is always the past catching up with the present. When asked what the future of Metrobank looks like, Arthur Ty, son of George Ty and elected President of the Bank in 2006, understandably looks back at the early years and at his father’s legacy. “Metrobank,” says Arthur Ty, “started out as most banks do, as a very small bank with only one branch set up. Now it has become the largest bank in the country. That rags-to-riches story is tied very closely to a very specific personality, that of Chairman George Ty. The values that the Chairman has, formed the cornerstone for the success of Metrobank. For all intents and purposes, George Ty is Metrobank.” That is the unanimous opinion of every Metrobanker. As now Vice Chairman James Go, who was with the Bank from its beginnings in Binondo and rose from the ranks, puts it, “The secret of Metrobank’s success is George Ty.”

Launched a re-packaged bank assurance product called Metro Invest Plus to allow clients to contribute monthly on a fixed schedule.

Metrobankers make up the 31 Purple Hearts Club Chapters nationwide.

Above: Dr. George S.K. Ty receiving the TOFIL (The Outstanding Filipino Award) award from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Opposite page: The ALCO (Assets and Liabilities Committee) is a daily occurence in the Bank and begins on the dot at eight in the morning.

Soft-launched the Corporate Stewardship program, packaged with a rich range of employee benefits.

Held the Bank’s first auction which attracted 160 guests and 100 bidders and had a 33% take-up rate, pronounced way above industry norm by auction manager, CB Richard Ellis.


In Good Hands

The Metrobank Story

Opposite page: First Vice President Leopoldo M. Ubaldo, Senior Vice President Eligio C. Labog Jr., Senior Vice President Amelin S. Yao, Vice President Godofredo V. Cruz and Senior Vice President Cesar L. Lugtu

Started two MetroHome campaigns – ‘Cut and Save’ creates awareness of the Bank’s loan programs, and the ‘Get a Home Loan, Grab a Phone Free.’

2005

140

Echoing the guiding principle that has made Metrobank successful year after year, Arthur Ty says, “There are two sides to the story of Metrobank. One is the Bank itself, and one is the Foundation. In our minds, those are equally important. One is business, and one is philanthropy.” In short, in the inimitable words of George Ty, “We make money, we give money.” In today’s highly competitive Philippines, which has become much more impersonal and complicated than it was in the early sixties, does it still make sense to spend as much time on philanthropy as on business? “Definitely,” answers Arthur Ty. “My father moved here when he was a small boy. He was very lucky in business, and he has been very successful in what he does. He feels that he owes the Philippines. He continues to want to give something back to the community. That has always been his driving force as far as corporate social responsibility is concerned, and it is the driving force of Metrobank.” Both business and philanthropy, of course, demand excellent management, if they are to last. How can you make money if you do not manage all your assets - financial and workforce properly? How can you engage in philanthropy if you do not have enough money? Metrobank can pride itself on its excellent managers. The interaction between George Ty and the officers of the Bank is itself remarkable. There is genuine collaboration, not just consultation and certainly not centralization. All decisions, though inspired by George Ty, are done collegially. Abacan summarizes these managerial values as “Vitamin C,” the letter C standing for many words starting with C, such as Communication, Cooperation, Coordination, and Commitment. One value, Discipline, starts with a different letter, but it is the foundation of all the rest. Metrobank’s senior officers are probably the most disciplined bankers in the country. Every senior officer is at his or her desk

Launched the Branch Effectiveness and Sales Transformation program (BEST), aimed at converting branches into a more sales and marketing-oriented workforce.

Expanded remittance operations in Europe.


Metrobank prides itself on its excellent managers.

Chapter 4 Banking on the Future, 2004-2008

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The Metrobank Story

There is genuine partnership and synergy among the people. All decisions, though inspired by George Ty, are done collegially.


Chapter 4 Banking on the Future, 2004-2008

2006

by 7:30 in the morning. The senior managers meet formally every day at eight in the morning. The management meeting ends promptly at nine, which is the time the bank opens. No meeting is scheduled until noon, because everyone is available for clients. If there is a need for another meeting, that meeting is held from twelve noon to two in the afternoon. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., everyone is again with clients and no meetings among managers are held. In case urgent matters need to be taken up, meetings are held from 4 p.m. to as late as ten in the evening. Even when there is nothing extraordinary, no officer leaves the bank before dark. “That,” says Abacan, “is discipline.” The schedule has been kept as long as anyone can remember. Antonio Gonzales Jr. explains why all the officers are so disciplined. “We have working owners,” he says. “The owners themselves take the lead. They are here everyday at 7 a.m.” Steve Medrano Jr. seconds the observation. “When I was assigned in the branch, Chairman George Ty would visit us as early as 7 a.m. You gain inspiration from the owners, the president, and all the senior officers, because you see all of them working early in the morning. As an employee, you aspire to be like them.” The moral of the story for all banks, as well as for all other businesses, was articulated by Washington SyCip, who tells how he was amazed to find all the senior officers already at their desks when he once arrived at 7:30 a.m. for a meeting. “Metrobank,” SyCip said later in a speech, “is a bank where the officers are working while officers in some other banks are still asleep.”

Dr. GSKTy was conferred the 2006 Management Man of the Year award by the Management Association of the Philippines

Launched the World Cash Card, an ATM designed specifically for the Overseas Filipinos

ASAbacan, Jr. was presented the prestigious CEO EXCEL award by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)

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Top: A day in the life of Metrobank begins with a prayer followed by the morning huddle. Opposite page: First Vice President Mark B. Perez, Vice President Josephine S. Yap and Executive Vice President and Head of National Branch Banking Sector Fabian S. Dee

Launched a new product, ‘Account One’ a three-in-one checking account marketed to individual clients