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The Bank of the Philippine Islands (or BPI, as it is commonly abbreviated) is the nation’s third largest bank (and with a worth of $15.30 billion in assets, the third largest company as well), but more importantly is the oldest bank in the region, and in all of Southeast Asia. It has a very interesting history, and remains one of the best business landmarks in the region. This article will briefly outline the background of BPI.

Business loan terms had been expanding quite a lot in the mid-nineteenth century as the European powers were fighting to capitalize on the profits of the industrial revolution. The bank was established on August 1, 1851, named after the queen of Spain, and was originally called the Banco Espanol-Filipino de Isabel II. It was actually the second bank in the region, though the already-existing bank formed by Francisco Rodriguez no longer exists. The bank was authorized by the crown to print money in form of the Philippine peso.

The bank was renamed to Banco Espanol-Filipino in 1869 after the overthrowing of Isabella II, and in 1892 moved to a new district. During this period it almost became defunct as the area was considered depressed. BPI business loan terms had to be renegotiated.

The bank’s charter changed from a Spanish charter to a Philippine one after the cessation of the Philippines to the United States in 1898. In 1912, the bank was changed to its current title, BPI. Business loan terms changed dramatically as the bank was privatized during this transition.

In 1969, the bank became primarily owned by the Ayala Corporation, and has since been associated with a number of mergers and acquisitions. The bank became the first Philippine bank to offter insurance in 1982, and launched one of the first internet banks, BPI savings direct, in the same year, which helped launch it into the era of modern banking, where it remains an astonishing business success story.

This Business article was written by Mark Karavan on 1/30/2010