EastWest launches new credit card
The Philippine Star
June 17,2012
By Neil Jerome Morales

MANILA, Philippines - EastWest Banking Corp. has launched a new line of credit cards that will help the bank reach the one-million mark in issued credit cards in 2014.

EastWest Everyday MasterCard completes the lineup of the bank's credit cards that target various markets, officials said.

"We are striving hard," EastWest president and chief executive Antonio Moncupa said, when asked if the bank targets as much as one million credit cards in force in 2014.

To date, Moncupa said the company has issued around 800,000 credit cards nationwide.

For Jackie Fernandez, head of EastWest's Consumer Lending Cluster the new credit card will easily increase the issued cards by 20,000 to 30,000.

On Thursday, the company launched the EastWest Everyday MasterCard, the only cash rebate credit card in the market that offers cardholders up to five percent of cash rebates for their purchases on essential categories in supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores.

A cardholder can earn as much as five percent cash rebate for spending a minimum accumulated amount of P10,000 on non-essential items each month.

They can also earn three or 0.5 percent on essential purchases if they spend P5,000 to P9,999, or below P5,000, respectively, for non-essential purchases.

"We are looking at officers, career individuals, officers, managers and young professionals," said Sandro L. Villarosa, head of the bank's Card Marketing and Merchants Division.

Moncupa said the new credit card virtually completes the lineup of EastWest's credit card lines.

To date, the company has credit card seven variants that include EastWest Visa and MasterCard, EastWest Platinum MasterCard, EastWest Dolce Vita MasterCard and EastWest Practical MasterCard.

The only segment EastWest has yet to tap for its credit card business is the "super high end" or "wealth management type customers," Moncupa said.

"Consumer business is half of our entire business. Credit card is about a little more than half of our consumer business," Moncupa said.

EastWest's income rose to P460.76 million in the first quarter from P442.82 million a year ago, the company said in its financial statement. This, as net interest income grew to P1.317 billion from P1.09 billion last year.

Villarosa said EastWest Bank is looking at different strategies to expanding distribution presence not only in Metro Manila.

"We also established several lending centers in Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Cebu, Davao and we are building our presence and branch presence nationwide," he said.

EastWest targets 350 new branches in the next three years in its bid to become one of the biggest universal banks in the Philippines. As of end-March this year, its total branch network stood at 144.

Last month, EastWest raised P5.2 billion from an initial public offering which is part of the requirement set by the central ban prior to the issuance of a universal or expanded commercial banking license. A unibank license will allow the bank to engage in other non-bank financial activities.