Philippine National Bank said Thursday it closed the year 2020 with a net profit before provisions for impairment and taxes of P17.6 billion, an increase of 17 percent from 2019, on continued improvement on net interest income and robust trading gains amid the economic downturn due to the pandemic.
PNB said net interest income, comprising 79 percent of the total operating income, increased by 11 percent to P35.8 billion, supported by lower funding cost which cushioned the drop in yield rates of earning assets.
Interest expense on deposits declined by almost half from a year ago despite an 8-percent growth in deposits to P890.3 billion as the bulk of these incremental deposits continued to be in low-cost funds, combined with the reduction in high-cost deposits.
Interest income on loans and receivables decreased by 6 percent as the bank’s loan portfolio declined by 9 percent to P600 billion. This reflected the weak demand for loans owing to economic uncertainties and PNB’s strategy to focus on strengthening its liquidity position by investing most of the available funds in short-term and more liquid placements to remain resilient during the pandemic.
”The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary for PNB to adopt a more prudent approach in asset deployment and recognize substantial credit provisioning which adversely impacted its bottom line in order to protect the balance sheet. However, we remain confident that these strategies, along with our planned tactical moves will ensure that the Bank will emerge from the crisis stronger in the long run. We remain hopeful that the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine will further open the economy enabling these challenged industries to begin the road to recovery. This will allow us to claw back our provisions in the future”, said PNB president and chief executive Wick Veloso.
“As the pandemic inevitably reshaped how businesses are conducted and transformed customer behavior, we are focused on exploring new opportunities, particularly in the digital space, that will translate to new revenue streams for the bank, while at the same time mitigating the risks arising from operating in the new normal,” Veloso said.
PNB’s consolidated resources reached P1.2 trillion as of end-December 2020, up by 8 percent from a year ago.