It is said that many of the world’s greatest accomplishments grew from the idea of one person. Modest though it may be in comparison with any of the world’s unforgettable achievements, in the hearts and minds of its many beneficiaries – including its past and present Board of Directors, Management, Staff, depositors and clients – here in its own turf in the thriving municipality of Mangaldan and probably its adjacent towns – the establishment of the Rural Bank of Mangaldan was a great accomplishment in itself that deserves a niche in the socio-economic history of this great town if not of the whole province of Pangasinan.
The person who “started it all” was Dr. Ricardo B. Villamil. He is a former medical practitioner, pioneer rural banker, and once served as an elected city councilor of Dagupan.
Sometimes as early as 1962, Dr. Villamil had set his mind to organize two rural banks simultaneously, one in Dagupan City, the other in Mangaldan. He had done the yeoman’s job in preparing all documentary requirements for the two banks, and his family had been thrust into the predestined roles of ownership and control of the Dagupan Bank. But as to the other bank to be put up in Mangaldan. Dr. Villamil had limited his choice to only one man – Dr. Vicente B. Jimenez, then a leading medical practitioner who used t share the same clinic with Dr. Villamil in the latter’s building on the then Torres Bugallon Avenue (now A.B. Fernandez Avenue).
After graduating from the University of the Philippines college of medicine in 1939 and passing the medical board examination in that same year, Dr. Jimenez left for Paris to take up his post-graduate study in that French capital city. While in Paris, World War II broke out, and he decided to continue his post-graduate work in the United States instead, particularly at the prestigious Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, New York. He subsequently hopped from one hospital to another in the U.S.A. to further hone his skills, especially in cardiology. In late 1941, he returned home to the Philippines and taught for sometime at the UP-Philippine General Hospital on Taft Avenue corner Herran Street, Manila, until 1944. After the war, Dr. Jimenez practiced in Dagupan and for sometime also served as consultant at the then Pangasinan Provincial Hospital (now Region I Medical Center).
Being a complete amateur in the strange arena of banking and financial management, but unable to resist the aggressively persistent and highly persuasive Dr. Villamil, Dr. Jimenez reluctantly accepted Dr. Villamil’s invitation and challenge. On May 29, 1963, the by-laws of the Rural Bank of Mangaldan was approved by the Central Bank of the Philippines (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas).
From then on, there was no stopping the new rural bank from moving along the road history and destiny. On June 5, 1963, the incorporators held their maiden meeting which, among others, elected the bank’s first set of officers, thus: Dr. Vicente B. Jimenez, President and General Manager; Josefina C. Villamil, Vice President; Atty. Ludovico Q. Magno, Secretary-Treasurer; Rafael D. Magno and Ponciano S. Magno, Directors.
Backstopping President-General Manager Jimenez was a competent and efficient pioneer staff composed of: Isidora V. Jimenez, Cashier; Atty. Ludovico Q. Magno, Chief Appraiser; Moises P. Llego, Accountant; Benedicto Q. Cendrada, Bookkeeper; Olympia M. Ferrer, Loans and Discount Clerk; and Sergio Lopez, Security Guard-Utility Aide.
D-DAY: OCTOBER 19, 1963
To the pioneers of the bank, the 19th day of October, in the year of our Lord 1963, was a day never to be forgotten thereafter. That was the day the Rural Bank of Mangaldan was formally inaugurated.
The Reverend Father Leon Bitanga (now retired as right reverend monsignor after serving for several years as parish prelate of the Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Dagupan City), then the parish priest of the Parish of St, Thomas Aquinas, Mangaldan, officiated at the blessing of the bank’s building, equipment and facilities, and premises. The first lady then of Mangaldan, Mrs. Demetria C. Biala, better half of then Mayor Abelardo B. Biala, assisted by then Philippine National Bank Dagupan branch assistant Manager Bernardo Giron, cut the ceremonial ribbon.
One highlight of the ceremonies was the handover of the certificate of authority from the Central Bank of the Philippines by Mariano Gimenez, then assistant director of the Central Bank’s department of rural banks, to Dr. Jimenez on behalf of the rural bank’s Board of Directors.
Not long after the formal inaugural ceremonies, more people from Mangaldan and nearby Dagupan City began beefing up the new bank’s roster of stockholders apparently due to the initial impression emerging from the people at the helm of the bank who excluded confidence in their individual and collective character, credentials, and prestige. The additional stockholders read like a list of “Who’s Who” – Maria de Vera, Petra B. de Vera, Atty. Gregorio B. de Vera, Atty. Beda B. Jimenez, Dr. Mariano L. Aquino, Jorge L. Bengzon, Vicente C. Villamil, Antonio A. Espino, and Lourdes V. Jacinto. At this writing, the bank has 131 stockholders of record.
THE CORNERSTONE: COUNTRYSIDE DEVELOPMENT
In line with its Credo, the Rural Bank of Mangaldan is committed to the belief “…that the key to national development is strong grassroots economies. Towards this end, our bank shall be in the forefront of service, with our sights trained on countryside development.”
Hence, from the start of its operation, the Bank has consistently keyed its corporate priorities to the plight of the farmer, who is unquestionably the central character in any rural setting. He is in fact the heart and soul of the Filipino nation since his plight could reliably mirror the plight of the whole populace.
Leafing through the record of the Bank, one will come across the name of Marcelina Ymasa, of Barangay Binday, San Fabian, Pangasinan, as the very first borrower. She obtained a loan of P500 for her small farm. Considering that this was during the early ‘60’s, that loan should not be deemed quite miniscule. Her lead was followed by more borrowers from here and there for various purposes – for the purchase of farm equipment, work animals, livestock and feeds, or to finance cottage industry or livelihood projects. After only 7 years of existence, the Bank’s borrowers totaled 4,100 with a combined loan amount of P24, 600, while savings depositors numbers 1,500.
When the Bank opened for business in 1963, it had an initial capital of P100, 000; after only 7 years, in 1970, this spiraled to P680, 000. To keep up with its ever-growing list of borrowers, the Bank has increased its loan portfolio several times through the years.
For the past 40 years, the Bank has done its part in pump-priming countryside development in Mangaldan and adjacent towns. The liberal terms and conditions of its credit facilities, particularly agricultural production loans, have drawn farmers and peasants from this town and beyond. Aside from the agricultural loans, the Bank also offered other credit facilities, such as us industrial loans, commercial loans, educational loans, loans to defray cost of processing travel papers for overseas contact workers, backyard poultry and piggery financing, Bakahan sa Barangay, fishpond (bangus and prawn) culture, sugar cane planting, and orchard (vegetables and fruit trees) development.
GOING, GROWING, GLOWING
Being closely attuned to the trend of national and local economic development, the Rural Bank of Mangaldan has endeavored to come up with ways and means of assisting its clientele, especially by giving them easy access to credit under the Agricultural Loan Fund (ALF) and the Industrial Guarantee Loan Fund (IGLF) to enable them to improve their livelihood through other sources aside from rice and corn production. Thus, the Bank is credited for its pioneering introduction of the IR-8 high-yielding rice variety, resulting in a record high harvest of 162 cavans per hectare of rice land. Corollary to this, under the CB-IBRD program of the government through the Central Bank, the Bank also has made available loans for the purchase of land tractors. After only 10 years, in 1973, its total assets grew to P4-million, thus attaining an average growth rate of 15 percent per annum. The year 1973 also signaled the facilitation of loan releases with emphasis on collateral requirements. Savings deposits rose to P1, 592,543. On the other hand, this year’s gains were negated by the pall of tragedy as a result of the untimely demise of two of our pillars, Lourdes V. Jacinto and Atty. Beda B. Jimenez.
In 1975, the Bank’s total resources soared to P8.7-million, savings deposits increased to P3.6-million, while its loan portfolio totaled a record-high P7-million. As a direct consequence of the staff’s persistent monitoring and follow-ups, the past due accounts of debtor-farmers shrunk to as low as 5 percent.
As the Bank’s share in financial assistance to small-scale entrepreneurs, thus insulating them against the usurious tentacles of fly-by-night moneylenders, a Money Shop was opened in March 1976 right beside the town’s public market. Most benefited by this additional facility were market stallholders, transient or ambulant vendors, owners and operators of public utility motorized tricycles, and many others. Recently, the Money Shop has been upgraded to a branch of RBM.
The Bank was frontliner of the “Tipid Movement” in the province with more than 800 elementary and high school children responding to the clarion for savings consciousness. This program resulted in nearly a million deposits most of which are still active accounts up to now. On a parallel vein, past due accounts by this rime dipped to the neighborhood of only 1 percent.
AWARDS OF RECOGNITION
Standing as vivid testimonies to the Bank’s outstanding contribution to countryside development, the strengthening of the rural banking system, and the building up of its prestige and reputation in terms of its high quality and exemplary record in solvency, liquidity, efficiency, responsiveness to the needs of the community, as well as faithful compliance with Central Bank standards, rules and regulations are various awards garnered during the years 1970 to 1987.
Among others, these awards embellish the colorful past of the Rural Bank of Mangaldan, to wit:
1. Bronze Plaque of Commendation for being the “Rural Bank of the Year 1970,” from the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines;
2. Award of Merit 1975, from the National Commission on Savings;
3. Silver Plaque Award as “Rural Bank of the Year 1975.” Also from the RBAP;
4. Golden Plaque Award as “Rural Bank of the Year 1976.” Which was presented to Dr. Jimenez by then box office movie queen Alma Moreno, assisted by Modesto Francisco, special assistant to the Central Bank Governor, and Manuel Santos of the CB-DRBSLA, and witnessed by then Secretary Arturo Tangco of the Department of Agriculture;
5. Achievement Award as “Most Outstanding Rural Bank of the Country for 1976-1977,” from the Central Bank of the Philippines;
6. “Rural Bank of the Year 1976-77, from the Samahang Bangko Rural ng Pangasinan;
7. Golden Plaque Award as “Rural Bank of the Year 1980,” from the RBAP;
8. Merit Award as “One of the Ten Best Managed Rural Banks in Region I in 1983,” from the Central Bank of the Philippines;
9. Achievement Award as “Most Outstanding Rural Bank in Luzon for the Year 1987,” from RBAP;
10. Achievement Award 1990-91, from RBAP, after which the practice of giving such awards yearly was stopped.
As of December 31, 2002, the Bank’s total assets stood at P286, 414,276.79, while its net income was P10,573,095.25. Deposits totaled P242, 190,521.00, while loans P122, 062,346.00. The RBM family of incorporators, stockholders, employees, depositors and clients many will take pride in the fact that the Bank for several years has been the No. 1 single taxpayer in Mangaldan and for taxable year 2001, the No. 1 single taxpayer in Mangaldan and for taxable year 2001, the No. 1 taxpayer in Pangasinan!
Those who live by or near the sea could draw an analogy between a bank’s cycle of leadership and the cyclical movement of tides. They know, of course, that along the seashore, on the mudflats where mangroves or nipa palms abound, marine creatures, such as various types of crustaceans and mollusks, make their living in accord with the movement of tides. Thus, during ebb tide, those creatures busy themselves preparing for the coming high tide.
So it is with the cycle of the leadership of the Rural Bank of Mangaldan, now otherwise called Bangko Rural ng Mangaldan in line with the nationalistic trend. During the year 2001, Dr. Jimenez, the Founding Chairman, was on the ebb tide. But the tide came back – stronger than ever – when his successor-son, Alberto V. Jimenez, took over the reins of management as Chairman of the Board, President, and General Manager – with a new vitality as he entered what promised to be another great chapter in the history of the Bank.
The new “Boss” earned his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering degree from the University of the Philippines, the same alma mater of his father, in 1971, and completed the academic requirements leading to a master’s degree in business administration at the Ateneo de Manila University’s Graduate School of Business.
He had worked with various firms in Metro Manila, notably Dharmala Philippines, Inc., where he was Senior Vice President and Head of Project Finance Group, and with the Development Bank of the Philippines, from 1978-1997, where he retired as Senior Vice President and group head for property, security and management department, risk insurance management department, and credit and appraisal department.
Mr. Jimenez was President of the Samahang Banko Rural ng Pangasinan Foundation, Inc., in 2001-2003, and President of the Confederation of Northern Luzon Rural Banks in 2002-2003.