The Philippines has removed restrictions on foreign ownership of banks in the country under a new law that allows 100-per-cent foreign control, a government spokesman said Sunday.

The statute allows foreign banks to own 100 per cent stock of an existing domestic bank or to open a fully owned subsidiary incorporated under Philippines laws.

It replaces a cap of 60 per cent on foreign ownership and abolishes previous rules that allowed just 10 foreign banks in the country.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the law was in preparation for the economic integration of members of the 10—country Association of South—East Asian Nations in 2015.

“This is necessary to boost our economy because the banking system plays a key role in financial intermediation,” he said. “Many investors who want to come to the Philippines have been calling for more banks to be allowed to operate in the country.”