In an exceptional move, Philippine National Bank (PNB) President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso will be taking on two important positions at the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).

Notwithstanding his role as the newly anointed shepherd of the influential group, Mr. Wick will take the responsibility of heading the open-market-operations (OMO) committee. This is the first time in the 72 years history of the BAP that its president will be chairing the OMO committee as well.

There’s no doubt on Mr. Wick’s competence in treasury, the central essence of banking, is right down his very alley. Brings me back to the good old Sagittarius days when the buying and selling of dollars was done via viva voce, that was many years ago and we’re both several pounds lighter.

His support system is likewise formidable. Union Bank president Edwin Bautista, whose IT knowledge is beyond compare, is the chair of the cyber security committee.

Sanjiv Vohra, Security Bank CEO, will not only be the BAP secretary but will also take charge of the operations committee. Based on my recollection, I do believe, this is also the first time that a foreigner joins the elite group of BAP officers.    

 Missing this year are  two of my favorites – RCBC President Eugene Acebedo and Tony Moncupa of EastWest – as both have to go on a one-year hiatus because they have reached the four-year cap. The tandem of Cecille Borromeo of Land Bank and the mathematician/economist Hans Sicat, the country manager of ING Bank, as first and second vice president, respectively, is very much welcome.

 Somebody commented it is the aspiration of every banker to head the BAP. Imagine the feeling of leading your colleagues –  the top brass of the banking system which is  the heart and soul of the domestic economy.

 Just a bit of a flashback, as early as January this year, I betted on Mr. Wick, the “come backing kid on the block” (he was on a one-year respite, both as a persona and the institution he represents) and the dark horse for this year’s BAP president.

Was it then a dream come true for him last week, stepping out of the PNB shareholders’ meeting with an additional role: the new shepherd of the 45-strong member institution?

“Like what you said I may be next in line materialized,” acknowledged Mr. Wick. He came clean, confessing that he first heard the likelihood from me. “I never thought it’s going to happen.” How down to earth!

Mr. Wick leading the pack is very timely, at this point of maximum fear due to the swirling COVID positive cases, which one smart aleck market mover described as higher than the Philippine Stock Exchange index, because he can effectively navigate BAP’s position to the concerned authorities.

The BAP’s 72 years of history tells us its ability to quickly recover from any predicaments, manage to spring back into action. BAP “will work with the Government, its lawmakers and our regulators especially in building, enhancing or amending banking laws and regulations to help promote economic activity safely.”

Now that we’re back to a virtual lockdown as cases soar to over 8,000, it is crucial more than ever for BAP and the government to have a symbiotic relationship, ops, allow to use the marketing mantra of BDO, “find ways” to draw-up measures to speed up the recovery of the economy.

Way to go Mr. Wick. Cheers to the new BAP officers and board of directors.

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Source: Manila Bulletin (