Salmon, a fintech company focused on enhancing financial accessibility in Southeast Asia, has recently been granted regulatory approval by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to acquire a controlling interest in the Rural Bank of Sta. Rosa (Laguna), a long-standing financial institution in the Philippines since 1963. This move will see Salmon owning 59.7% of the bank, a significant step in the company’s expansion in the region.
The acquisition means Salmon will join a select group of fintech firms that operate licensed banking institutions in Southeast Asia. The deal aligns with the BSP’s Rural Bank Strengthening Program, initiated in 2022, which aims to enhance the rural banking sector and promote inclusive growth, especially catering to the evolving needs of the young and tech-savvy Filipino population.
With this transaction, which is set to conclude in the coming weeks, Salmon is poised to extend its reach in providing banking services to underserved and underbanked Filipinos. The company plans to open new branches in key areas, including Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao, contingent on further approval from the BSP.
Salmon’s approach to banking combines both offline and online services, and is known for its focus on customer service, with 95% of clients reportedly recommending the company. The acquisition enables Salmon to utilise the bank’s license and geographic presence to offer AI-driven credit and debit products across the country.
Raffy Montemayor, Co-Founder and Business Head of Salmon in the Philippines, remarked on the acquisition:
“The transaction will help us reach additional underserved communities in the Philippines, bringing modern, customer-centric and easy-to-access financial services to more people, regardless of smartphone ownership or customer location as we combine offline and online settings for providing our services… We are proud of the relationship we have developed with the executive team of the Rural Bank of Sta. Rosa (Laguna), and look forward to building a robust financial institution together to continue serving communities across the Philippines.”
Salmon plans to maintain and enhance the bank’s existing offline presence, with an emphasis on integrating significant capital and technology to improve customer services. The company’s products and services are set to be available across various channels, including offline.