MANILA, February 15, 2005 (STAR) By Ted Torres  -  The local banking community gave its stamp of approval yesterday to the appointment of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy governor Amando Tetangco Jr. as the new governor in July, when Rafael Buenaventura retires at the end of his six-year term.

Tetangco is a popular choice among bankers, who heaved a collective sigh of relief after speculating for months that political maneuvering would smear the BSP’s credibility in the international community.

"He is a wise and popular choice," said Leonilo Coronel, executive director of the Bankers Association of the Philippines. "His appointment is a signal that reforms will continue (along) the same path started by Buenaventura."

Aurelio Montinola, president of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said Tetangco "is well respected internationally, and is extremely familiar with the Philippine market. No doubt, he should have the support of both the banking sector and BSP officials."

Bankers Association of the Philippines executive director Toper Coronel said Tetangco also earned a vote of confidence from the commercial banking community.

Coronel said the appointment is a manifestation of the full support of Malacañang for the structural reforms being initiated by the BSP.

"It is a wise, popular and (well-studied) decision by the President. The President is forming a young and energetic economic and financial team, which is needed by the Philippine economy," he said.

Suzanne Felix, executive director of the Chamber of Thrift Banks said the thrift banking community welcomed the news since Tetangco is a career banker who is well-versed in pertinent financial issues.

"He is familiar with the international finance community as well as the local banking community. We have given him (our) support and we will continue to do so in his new post. He is approachable and uncomplicated. His appointment is consistent with the BSP’s desire for stability and consistency with monetary policies. We really wanted him in the first place."

Rural bankers believe that Tetangco’s appointment "is an encouraging signal for the banking community and the business sector in general." — With Des Ferriols, Marichu Villanueva, AFP

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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