By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/30-Dec-2012) – The banking community here are guessing what will be the new name of Legazpi Savings and Loan Association, Inc. known as Legazpi Savings Bank after its acquisition by JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei family to be a thrift bank subsidiary of the Robinsons Bank Corp. with the approval of the Monetary Board.
On the issue of job security or an offer for early retirement to its employee to give the majority controllers a free hand, employee of the bank here in the city are mum, but believed that the Gokongwei’s are sensible managers.
Legazpi Savings Bank was founded by four prominent Bicolano families, the Los Banos of Legazpi City, the Bichara of Ligao, Albay, the Sabido of Polangui and the Giongco of Rosario, Cavite with Bicolano roots.
The first bank was located at the Los Banos Building along Rizal and Mabini Streets in Legazpi City. Luis Los Banos was the founding chair and president. By 1993 Don Alfonso Bichara started the expansion of the bank when he took control as mandated by the Central Bank.
“Robinsons Bank with its controlling interest will use the Legazpi Savings Bank network of branches in Bicol as a vehicle for their micro financing and countryside banking in the Bicol Region” said Reynold Gerongay, President of Robinsons Bank. “It is an investment to tap a wider market”.
Initial increase of authorized capital stock was P12 million and by 1996 it was raised to P100 million. By 1997 it expanded by adding branches in Albay and the rest of Bicol region. Daraga, Tabaco, at Albay District, Polangui and Guinobatan hosted the bank, followed in Sorsogon City and Daet, Camarines Norte.
The acquisition cost was not revealed by the former majority owners though bankers here speculated that hundreds of millions was the price tag of the transaction. [Angel Ayala/BicolToday.com/With news from Manila Standard Today]