On this day, November 24 in the year 1927, the man who built a fortune out of real estate and finance was born in Amoy, China. His name was Andrew Lo Gotianon Sr., the co-founder of the Filinvest Development and EastWest Bank.
Andrew Gotianon Sr. was a scion of wealthy Go clan of Cebu, an island province in Central Philippines. He arrived in the Philippines at the age of 10. His schooling was cut short by World War II and by the untimely death of his parents. To support his siblings amidst the ruins after the war, he engaged in salvaging ships and later sold second-hand cars. He moved to Manila in the 1950s where he met his wife Mercedes. Together, they continued the business of selling and financing second vehicles under the company name Filinvest Credit Corporation. In 1967, Filinvest Realty was set up to developed subdivisions for the new middle class. Later, the couple established two banks, the Family Bank and Trust Company and the Insular Bank of Asia and America.
In 1973, the couple founded Filinvest Development Corporation as a holding company for their real estate and consumer finance businesses. In the 1980s, all real estate businesses were consolidated under a new company called Filinvest Land Inc. At this time, they divested their holding in the banking industry.
In the 1990s, the group listed Filinvest Land at the local stock exchange. At the same time, it became a partner of a government agency to development a large tract of land south of Metro Manila. Later, EastWest Bank was founded, marking the group’s return to banking and finance. In the new millennium, the group diversified into sugar milling, power generation and resort development.
Andrew Gotianon Sr. died in 2016 at the age of 88. He had 4 children with his wife Mercedes. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth was more than $900 million at the end of 2016. Her third child and only daughter Josephine succeeded her father as head of the Filinvest Group.