a-fistful-of-pesos

A fistful of pesos

For Philippines businesses, borrowing at home looks a lot more attractive than going offshore.

On a wet and windy afternoon in Manila, business is brisk at a Metrobank branch that sits beneath the glass-and-steel curve of its headquarters building in Makati. Even with a squall outside and a financial tsunami offshore, customers are waiting patiently to take out loans for new cars and condos because, despite the crisis elsewhere, there is no credit crunch in the Philippines.

Indeed, credit is positively booming. Bank of the Philippine Islands grew its loan book by 17% in 2008 and expects as much as 10% growth this year. Businesses are benefiting from the liquidity too, especially as the cost of borrowing in the international markets has, in effect, closed that option for most...

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