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Fortifying SM’s position in the banking field is its key investment in China Banking Corporation (China Bank), one of the largest universal banks in the Philippines in terms of assets, capital base and market value.

China Bank is the first privately-owned commercial bank in the Philippines, which catered initially to the needs of Chinese-Filipino businessmen. It played a key role in post-World War II reconstruction and economic recovery through its support to businesses and entrepreneurs in critical industries. It was established in 1920, was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange in 1947, became the first bank in Southeast Asia to process deposit accounts on-line in 1969, the first Philippine bank to offer phone banking in 1988, and acquired its universal banking license in 1991.

China Bank provides a wide range of banking services through its over 500 branches and 740 ATMs nationwide (including thrift bank subsidiary, China Bank Savings). The Bank serves the corporate, commercial, middle, and retail markets with a wide range of domestic and international banking services.

From a strong foundation, China Bank has since been involved with strategic alliances to expand and strengthen its operations. In 2007, China Bank entered into a bancassurance joint venture (Manulife China Bank Life, MCBL), with Manulife Phils., and acquired The Manila Bank Corporation -  which was re-launched as China Bank Savings. Its recent deal acquiring a majority stake in Planters Development Bank (Plantersbank) strengthens China Bank's presence and support to the SME sector, a market segment that China Bank has long been associated with.

China Bank remains one of the most respected, trusted, stable and profitable financial institutions in the country with over nine decades of solid financials, a strong commitment to personal, quality service, and significant contributions to the country’s financial landscape. China Bank has an enduring legacy of successful partnerships with generations of clients trusting the Bank with their wealth and future.