My Evolution As A Banker (Part 1)

My colleagues from Insular Bank of Asia and America

I am thankful dahil a week after graduating from the University of San Carlos (Commerce-Accounting Major) nagkita kami sa simbahan ni ARMAND BRAUN, then the Senior VP of INSULAR BANK OF ASIA AND AMERICA. He told me to apply. I took the exam but passed 6 out of the 7 sets of exams so hindi ako na-consider. When Mr. Braun learned about it I was called back to take 3 new sets of tests which probably were the simplest i’ve taken ever. I passed it and work as an INVESTMENT CLERK in 1985. In less than a year, I submitted my resignation to Mr. Braun kasi di ko kinaya ang pressure ng mataray na supervisor. Mr. Braun asked me: “Do you want out of this bank or out of that department?”

I was all primed to go home to Gensan then but when you are given this opportunity for redemption you just grab it. So sabi ko: “I want out of that department.” It happened so fast — I was then interviewed by Cebu Area Manager ROMY BAS who became like a father to me. The next thing I know I was moving to IBAA’s oldest branch along M.C.Briones Street as New Accounts clerk.

With MC Briones Branch mates

Nagulat ako sa itsura ng branch kasi sobrang luma na nga but it was among the busiest sa dami ng customers. The officers and staff led by TONY FELIPE welcomed me like family and I learned a lot from each of them. Tony’s assistant ELY MANSUETO took me under his wing and mentored me. Not only did I learn the basics of banking, Ely also thought me how to deal with people — both customers and co-workers. Every Friday night was TAGAY NIGHT. Siempre lasing din ako like everyone but it sure was FUN. Mag-iisang taon na ako sa MC Briones Branch and I was being trained to handle the DISTRIBUTION clerical position. Noon talagang mano-mano lahat. Walang digital adding machine. Walang computers. At super laki ng machine na gamit just to update passbooks. And dahil sa dami ng clients, halos alas nuwebe na kung umuwi lalo na ang DISTRIBUTION CLERK. Susmaryosep! Ayokong tumanda ng ganun. I have to find a way to move back to the REGIONAL office.

December 1985 noon when I got wind of the memo about the joint Christmas Party for all Cebu Branches. This is it, pansit. I called up LEAH SIBOA of our Cebu HR and volunteered: “PWEDE BANG AKO ANG MAG-EMCEE NG CHRISTMAS PARTY?”  Am sure nagulat si Leah and she promised to get back to me after consulting with her boss Cherry Muntuerto. May “regular” na kasing nag-eemcee noon so I knew my offer was a long-shot. Fortunately HR decided to give me the hosting chores. My hosting must have been a hit dahil dito nagsimula ang walang kamatayang pagho-host ko ng mga events ng IBAA simula noon.

ibaa pcibank
One of the most unforgettable events that I hosted happened in 1986. IBAA’s President JOEY CUISIA was in attendance. In bated breath, we waited as Mr. Cuisia officially announced that the Gotianuns have sold IBAA to the Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIBank). Change is always difficult and we didn’t know how two proud banks can gel together. I had the chance to shake Mr. Cuisia’s hand that night. He would become BSP Governor in 1990.

With the merger came the reconfiguration of areas. Cebu Area Manager Romy Bas was given the Eastern Visayas Area while BEN VILLAMOR took over the Cebu Branches. Since my move to MC Briones Branch, I have looked up to Mr. Bas as my idol. I wanted to become a well-loved leader like him. With the recent changes, I was downhearted but didn’t give up just yet.

I was hosting PCIBank’s Family Day in 1987 when I bumped into Mr. Bas. He asked: “Are you interested to be a FINANCIAL ANALYST?”


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