Repeating A History Of Bankruptcy

There is a saying that history repeats itself. It would be nice if something good or beneficial to mankind gets repeated many times, no one will complain. However, if history repeats something that brought misery to many, that is something else. A wrong thing that gets done again by the same person or entity is unforgivable especially if the repeated event looks like a replay of the first one. It is as if the parties never learned from the lessons of the past.

Repeating a history of bankruptcy is unfolding before us when Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank (Banco Filipino) was placed under receivership last March 17 because the bank had become insolvent and was believed to be incapable of recovering from its financial distress according to the bank regulating agency in the country. This is already the second time that BF has been placed under receivership. The first time was in 1985, when it was also declared insolvent by the regulators.

Banco Filipino was my first bank. I opened a savings account in one of its branches in the City of Manila way back in early 1974 using my PhP700.00 winning in then once-a-week Jai-Alai Special Llave event. It was a few weeks before my college graduation when I got lucky to get the 3-9-8 winning combination on a PhP2.00 bet. Seven hundred (PhP700.00) was big money then, college tuition was only PhP240.00 per semester in those days.

Anyway, my relationship with Banco Filipino as a depositor did not last long. My initial deposit was also my last and after many small withdrawals for a period of two (2) years, they closed my account for inactivity and with PhP5.00 as remaining balance, if I remember it right. This was how I remember the bank during its heyday when it was the Number 1 savings bank in the country in terms of deposits and number of depositors.

Going by its famous slogan, “Subok Na Matibay, Subok Na Matatag” (Tested Strong, Proven Stable), outsiders could not believe when Banco Filipino was closed by the Central Bank (CB), the regulatory body in those days, due to insolvency in 1985. The bank owners fought the case in court and it was allowed to reopen in 1994 but the situation was never the same as before.  Banco Filipino did not regain its Number 1 status as a savings and mortgage bank and after years of so-so performance it was again closed for its failure to service withdrawals last March 17, 2011. This is what I term as repeating a history of bankruptcy.

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