SM’s banking business consists of BDO Unibank, Inc., now the country’s largest bank and China Banking Corporation, the first and one of the oldest privately owned local commercial banks in the country.
SM's interest in banking dates back to the mid-sixties during the emerging years of Shoemart. Founder Henry Sy, Sr. knew the importance of good credit and looking after the welfare of suppliers and eventually tenants and contractors. By providing them cash management services, suppliers would keep Shoemart’s shelves full and well-stocked. Such wisdom compelled Henry Sy Sr. to acquire a small bank which he later named Banco de Oro.
Banking is a natural fit that creates synergies within the businesses of SM. Its organic growth in tandem with the malls provides a host of products and services meant to optimize the profitability and efficiency of the group's suppliers, tenants, contractors and consultants. This has been matched with growth through mergers and acquisitions which became a platform for a more aggressive building of branches nationwide and the diversification of products and services to meet the evolving needs of large corporates, small and medium-scale enterprises, and consumers.