Villar infusing P3b in bank unit

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The Villar Group is investing P3 billion to roll out at least 20 branches of thrift banking unit Optimum Bank.

Former senator and Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. chairman Manuel Villar said in an interview Optimum Bank would primarily service the needs of the Villar Group and its customers.

Optimum Bank, headquartered in Mandaluyong City and formerly known as Capitol Development Bank, has 10 existing branches.

“We had a license before. It has been a dormant and we just revived it,” Villar said.

Villar said the bank branches would be located mostly within the group’s malls developments.

“We plan to have 20 branches. We already have ten and then double it. But we are still feeling our way,” Villar said.

“This will service the needs of the group and the whole system,” Villar said.

Former senator Manuel Villar

The Villar family recently ventured into the telecom business initially via fixed broadband services in a bid to offer the public a better alternative to what is currently being provided by existing telecommunication companies.

Streamtech Systems Technologies Inc. recently applied for congressional franchise “to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain telecommunications systems throughout the Philippines.”

Meanwhile, Vista Land plans to grow its tourism and hospitality business and industrial estate developments.

“We’re venturing into tourism, and eventually, we’ll probably have some of industrial also,” said Vista Land president Manuel Paolo Villar.

Villar said the group wanted to build hotels and tourism-related projects within its mixed-use developments.    

“We’re looking at the next three years for hotels,” said Villar.  “We’re very bullish on tourism. As you know the Chinese has been more open to come to the Philippines. I think there have been more and will be more Chinese tourist arrivals in the Philippines, so you’re looking at the big growth in tourism,” Villar said.

Villar said the hotels would be a combination of company managed brands and joint ventures.

Vista Land, which currently owns Mella Hotel, earlier said it planned to build four hotels across the country. These are located in Boracay, Las Piñas, Tagaytay and Bataan.

The company is also looking at industrial estate developments.

“We are looking at a little industrial projects, economic zones, in some of our bigger cities. We are also looking for potential partners for that,” Villar said.

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