What it does:
Universal banking: serves a variety of financial needs through both commercial and investment banking.
Best known for:
BDO Unibank is the largest bank in the Philippines, with roughly three trillion pesos in total assets, ⅓ more than its nearest competitor. It’s ranked as the 243rd largest bank globally and serves as the country’s biggest lender.
36,000+ employees across the world, with a presence in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, the United States, Canada and more. It has over 1,300 branches.
Recent financial statements reveal significant growth year-on-year at time of writing, with a 15% increase in gross customer loans, 10% equity growth and a 17% increase in net profit in FY18 alone. Share price decreased by 20% to ₱130.80, but earnings per share increased to ₱7.40, a 15% improvement. Despite its size, BDO Unibank continues experiencing healthy growth.
Lots of opportunity for career advancement in any banking pathway. High job security with solid benefits.
The not so good:
The strict KPIs and long hours aren’t for everyone. The potential for advancement is there, but it’s often slow.
Hiring grads with degrees in:
Anything! A finance, commerce or business degree are just some of the ways into a job at BDO Unibank. STEM graduates are always welcome.
BDO Unibank started in 1968 as Acme Savings Bank, later acquired in 1976 by the SM Group. It started with two branches, but quickly ballooned across the Philippines, soon becoming the Banco de Oro Savings and Mortgage Bank. It rebranded to a commercial bank in 1996 and a universal bank after that. This led to its services expanding through the aid of partnerships and further mergers, leading to the behemoth we know today.
They may currently be at the top, but their competitors aren’t sleeping. Metropolitan Bank, commonly known as Metrobank, comes in second with two trillion pesos in assets and healthy growth year on year. The Bank of the Philippine Islands and Land Bank of the Philippines are not far behind, with a combined 3.6 trillion in assets.
BDO Unibank accommodates several career pathways, from marketing and HR to accounting and client services. University graduates are encouraged to apply. Graduates from non-business fields can also find their way into a position here.
The entire process can take anywhere between one and six months depending on the role you’re applying for, beginning with either an online or in-person application. The first step is usually an aptitude test, often consisting of general logic questions, a written essay or both. You may also be asked discipline-specific questions. For instance, expect questions on tax law and day-to-day dilemmas in the life of a tax accountant if that’s the role you’re applying for. These exams take place in recruitment centres, which can be found in major cities.
If you’re successful, you’ll be interviewed by HR, who will ask general interview questions. Examples can include, but are not limited to:
What makes you suited to this role?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This interview is followed by another with the relevant manager if you’re successful. You’ll then be asked to fill out a short pre-employment form and then you’re in!
Early career remuneration for university graduates can vary between ₱16k - 20k per month depending on qualifications. Here are some examples:
Marketing graduates - ₱16.7k per month.
Accounting graduates - ₱16.3k per month.
Business administration graduates - ₱13k - 17k per month.
BDO Unibank has cultivated a competitive culture. Employees are expected to exceed their peers in order to advance, which can breed rivalries and encourage long hours. Working on holidays is normal. That said, it’s a popular place to work for graduates. Payscale data reveals 41% of surveyed employees are early career professionals. It’s a proving ground for new entrants into the financial services sector.
The bank’s goal is to provide industry-leading financial products and services, from foreign exchange, lending and deposit-taking to investments, trusts, cash management and more. It uses its 1300 branches to reach customers wherever required. BDO Unibank strives for continual expansion and acquisition to extend its value to customers.
It also has a sustainability strategy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their mantra is to “achieve resilience by incorporating sustainability in the way we do business”. This commitment is enforced at board level. Other core values include:
Commitment to customers
Commitment to a dynamic and efficient organisation
Commitment to employees
Commitment to shareholders
Their most notable recent controversy took place in 2015, when an ad campaign glamorised consumerism over socially conscious initiatives. The ads featured a happy consumer praising a home purchase, travel plans or new clothes over ‘saving the world’ or ‘saving the future’. Critics found the campaign insensitive and BDO publicly apologised shortly after.
The bank has also found controversy as a member of the SM group, which cut down trees in Baguio to build a parking lot as part of a planned expansion. The group planned to fell 182 alnus and pine trees. They managed to cut 60 trees down before the Supreme Court stepped in at the urging of environmental activists.
Annual sustainability reports indicate consistent contributions to the UN SDGs. Notable achievements include:
Over 470k relief packages distributed
116 classrooms built, with an accompanying target of free, equitable education by 2030
₱9.43 million for underserved Mindanao teachers
₱20.2 million in WWF fundraising
576 shelter homes built
Overall, the bank has shown significant commitment to not only all 17 SDGs, but the economic and social development of the Philippines.