EastWest Banking Corp., the financial unit of Filinvest Development Corp., is not for sale, according to Josephine Gotianun-Yap, the group’s president and chief executive.
“No, it is not true. Filinvest Development Corp. is not in any discussion nor does it plan to, with regards to any potential sale of EastWest Bank,” Gotianun-Yap said in a statement.
“There has been some speculation from media and netizens referencing how a certain bank was in talks of merging with or acquiring the FDC subsidiary. EastWest Bank is one of the pillars of FDC,” Gotianun-Yap said.
She said FDC remained very positive with the bank’s consistent high performance and that it was well positioned to continue to grow and sustain its track record of being among the most profitable listed universal banks in the industry.
FDC, the controlling stockholder of EastWest, is one of the country’s largest conglomerates. Gotianun-Yap said for the conglomerate to let go of a highly profitable business does not make any business sense.
EastWest chief executive Antonio Moncupa Jr. said the bank was poised for another record year of profit, amid the low inflation environment and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s move of ensuring adequate market liquidity and reducing interest rates.
Moncupa said the lower rates magnified EastWest’s advantage from being business and consumer focused, and further enhanced its margins.
“Together with its improving deposit structure from the growth of lower-cost current and savings accounts, the bank is looking forward to sustaining its top position in profitability,” Moncupa said.
EastWest ranked an impressive No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in profitability position among banks in terms of return on average equity from 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively, he said.
Moncupa said EastWest went back to being No. 1 as the most profitable listed universal bank in the industry in terms of ROAE in the first quarter.
He said the bank’s record numbers were due to the “fruits of the seeds it has planted in the last few years, including improving economies of scale as the bank has grown and its branches have started to mature, better trading gains, lower interest rates and better deposit structure with the increase in current and savings account deposits.”
“In the last few years, there have been a number of queries, both from local and international entities, if EW is open to take new investors. I guess some sectors are attracted to EW’s unique business model and consistent high profitability record. But, no. We think that our stockholders will be better served if EW first optimized its potential as an independent company,” Moncupa said.