PHILIPPINE National Bank, the country’s fifth-largest lender in terms of assets and controlled by tycoon Lucio Tan, plans to sustain its 14-percent income growth in 2017, to be driven mainly by the strength of its core businesses.
PNB executive vice president and chief financial officer Nelson Reyes said in a briefing Tuesday the growth outlook was promising amid rising interest rates and the government’s P8.4-trillion infrastructure program.
“This year we may grow by mid-teens and the drivers of growth would be the core businesses… As in the past years, the focus would continue to be fees, loans and deposits,” Reyes said.
“Also, we are eyeing at a good number of those firms to be involved in the government’s infrastructure projects,” he said.
Reyes said PNB was increasing its exposure to the commercial lending from 33 percent last year to probably 35 percent. The bank’s biggest lending exposure remains in the corporate sector at 52 percent.
Meanwhile, consumer lending this year is expected to grow to around 15 percent of the total loan portfolio from 12 percent last year.
The bank does not plan to increase much branches nationwide, two-thirds of which are in the provinces. But PNB plans to open three mini branches or “lites” in Samal Island, Visayas University Campus and Southern Leyte.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in latter part of 2017 urged universal and commercial banks to open branch lites in the provinces in a bid to extend their reach to the unbanked in line with the government’s financial inclusion thrust.
PNB to date has 692 branches, including those of its savings bank. Bank officials said the cost of opening a mini or lite branch was 80 percent less compared with a regular branch.
PNB posted a consolidated net profit of P8.2 billion in 2017, up 14 percent from the P7.2 billion in 2016.
Net interest income increased 13 percent from 2016, driven mainly by a 17-percent expansion in the loan portfolio to P502.1 billion.