The chief financial officer defends Landbank


No less than the head of the financial team of the Duterte administration defended Land Bank of the Philippines after President Duterte threatened to abolish the state-run lender for allegedly forgetting his mandate to serve the agricultural sector, pointing out that more than a third of his loan portfolio to date backed farmers, fishermen and agribusiness ventures.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who also chairs Landbank, said that in addition to adhering to the President’s order that the lender further improve its exposure to agriculture, they would also report to Mr. Duterte either within the month or during the upcoming Cabinet meeting planned for Aug. 8 that the country is the fourth largest bank in terms of consolidation.

Landbank information showed that payments to tiny fishermen reached P140 million at the end of June or 0.02 percent of the total. The bank is required to finance the requirements of farmers and fishermen.

At the end of June, Landbank also had P119.52 billion (14.95 percent of the total) in loans to agribusinesses, P2.59 billion (0.32 percent) to aqua businesses and P55.21 billion (6.9 percent) to Agri- and agrarian-related projects of local government units and government-owned and -controlled companies (GOCCs).

The P177.32 billion in gross loans supplied by Landbank accounted for 22.17 percent of the complete credit portfolio across the mandated agriculture and fisheries industries.

As of June, the bulk of Landbank’s credit portfolio amounted to P744.49 billion, or 65.64 percent, backed the priority programs of the national government, including public-private partnership initiatives; micro, tiny and medium-sized companies; communications; transportation; socialized, low- and medium-cost housing; education; health care; environmental initiatives; tourism; utilities; and livelihood loans.

As of the end of June, utilities cornered the largest share of Landbank’s gross loan portfolio at P135.1 billion in bonds or 16.89 percent of the total.

Borromeo said they were already seeking clearances for the transaction from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Governance Commission for GOCCs and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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