• Metrobank named PH’s ‘strongest bank’

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    PUBLICLY listed Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank) has been named the “Strongest Bank in the Philippines” and No. 9 overall in Asia in the Asian Banker 500 Balance Sheet Ranking 2015 (AB 500), the bank announced Wednesday.

    In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the bank said it was the first time the Philippine bank has made it to the Top Ten List for Asia.

    It said the AB 500 is an evaluation of the 500 largest banks in the Asia Pacific region for the financial year 2014. The AB 500 Strongest Banks by Balance Sheet Ranking is the most comprehensive annual evaluation that captures the quality and sustainability of the balance sheets of banks in the region, it said.

    For the period January to September this year, Metrobank reported a 25-percent increase year-on-year in core earnings, with unaudited consolidated net income of P13.3 billion.

    Despite heightened competitive pressure and volatility in the interest rate environment, the bank continued to report double-digit growth in both loans and checking and savings accounts (CASA) as of end-September, stable margins, and realized stronger contributions from fee based-income, the bank said.

    Although it did not mention its January-September revenues, the bank said its net interest income, which accounts for over 70 percent of its total operating income, ended at P36.3 billion, while the non-interest income stood at P14.1 billion.

    Net interest income was boosted by outstanding net loans and receivables—up 10 percent to P768.9 billion –while total deposits reached P1.2 trillion on the back of a 14 percent hike in low-cost CASA to P652.6 billion.

    Loans and deposits grew 19 percent year-on-year, fueled by the bank’s expansion in emerging commercial SME and retail customers.

    The higher non-interest income was attributed to fee-based income that went up by 11 percent to P7.4 billion; P1.1 billion net trading and foreign exchange gains; as well as P5.7 billion in miscellaneous income.

    Operating expenses were flat from a year ago at P29.4 billion. Non-performing loans (NPL) remained steady at 1.2 percent.

    Metrobank is continuing with its expansion efforts to improve customer accessibility, opening 19 branches from January to September while installing 83 new automated teller machines (ATM). To date, the bank operates 939 branches and 2,183 ATMs.

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