Robust economy lifts banks’ profits

Two of the country’s largest banks on Thursday declared higher profits in the first quarter, boosted by double-digit growth in loans and deposits amid the robust domestic demand.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the fourth-largest lender led by Ayala Corp., said net income in the first quarter jumped 25.6 percent to P6.3 billion from a year ago, on improvements across business segments.

“The first-quarter results showed that the growth momentum last year was carried over this year,” BPI president and chief executive Cezar Consing said in a news briefing after the bank’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Makati City.

“While we are pleased with our first-quarter financial and operating results, we are very excited about our programs to continually enhance customer service across multiple channels by increasing safety, innovation and convenience,” he said.

BDO Unibank Inc. president and chief executive Nestor Tan (left) confers with chairperson Teresita Sy during the annual stockholders meeting at Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City. BDO posted a record income of P26.1 billion in 2016, meeting the bank’s earning guidance for the year. Bobby Cabrera

Total revenues grew 17.6 percent to P17.96 billion, while net interest income rose 15 percent to P11.49 billion as asset yields increased along with loan volumes.  Total loans grew 19.9 percent to P1.03 trillion, while deposits rose 10.7 percent to P1.44 trillion.  BPI said total assets expanded 12.4 percent to P1.73 trillion as of end-March.

Consing said BPI was planning to build 90 more BanKO (its microfinance unit) branches before the end of the year, in addition to the current 10 branches, to put more focus on small businesses.

Meanwhile, BDO Unibank Inc., the country’s largest lender controlled by tycoon Henry Sy, said net income in the first quarter rose 6.4 percent to P5.8 billion from P5.5 billion a year ago.

BDO president and chief executive Nestor Tan said the growth in loans and deposits were expected to continue on robust economy.

“We expect a sustained expansion in loans and deposits... The big-ticket infrastructure projects of the government will provide a huge upside,” Tan said.

“We remain positive on the economy... The higher fiscal spending is positive because it creates jobs, and jobs create more consumption,” he said.

BDO posted a 19-percent increase in net interest income in the first three months to P18.4 billion, as customer loans surged 21 percent to P1.5 trillion and deposits increased 13 percent to P1.9 trillion.

“We will try to achieve a good growth which is sustainable over time,” Tan said.

“With a strengthened capital base, robust business franchise and extensive distribution network, BDO is well-positioned to benefit from the country’s growth momentum,” he said.

Tan said earlier the bank planned to put up 50 to 70 branches in 2017, the usual target every year, depending on the growth prospects. BDO had 1,100 branches nationwide, including those of unit One Network Bank, as of end-2016.

Topics: Bank of the Philippine Islands , BDO Unibank Inc. , net income , net profit , economy
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