Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) posted a 5.3 percent decline in consolidated net income to P12.6 billion for the first nine months of the year due to a one-time loss from the sale of some assets.
Jette C. Gamboa, Metrobank senior vice president and head of strategic planning, told reporters on Thursday the bank’s core net income stayed steady from January to September 2015, but the net profit was dragged by a one-time loss from the sale of “a couple of big assets.”
The P12.6-billion profit for January-September was lower than the P13.3 billion consolidated net income recorded in the same period of 2015.
“We tracked the levels of our income last year on a core basis at least… We had a couple of big asset sales,” Gamboa said.
Despite the drop in net income, the bank “did better than expected,” however, registering more than 20 percent growth in its core business of loans and deposits, he said.
Net loans and receivables reached P965.1 billion in the nine-month period, up 26 percent from P768.9 billion recorded a year earlier, while low-cost deposits or current accounts and savings account (CASA) grew 21 percent to P790.8 billion from P652.6 billion in the same nine months of 2015.
A result of robust loans and deposits, net interest income for the period rose 7.4 percent to P39 billion from P36.3 billion a year earlier, contributing 70 percent of the bank’s total income. Net interest margin improved to 3.65 percent from 3.5 percent.
Non-core and non-interest net income, on the other hand, increased 23 percent to P17.4 billion on the back of stronger service fees, charges and commissions (P7.7 billion), trading gains (P4.2 billion), and miscellaneous income (P5.5 billion). The trading gains nearly tripled to P4.2 billion from P1.1 billion reported last year, mostly contributed by robust gains in the first quarter.
Juan Placido Mapa, Metrobank investor relations head, said the bank’s loan books outpaced the industry loan growth of 17.7 percent estimated by the central bank, as well as the 18 percent to 20 percent growth forecast for the bank this year, which bodes well for the robust performance of the bank vis-à-vis the economy moving forward.
“It’s one of the fastest growth rates we’ve seen, it surpasses our expectations. Because [loans]are really the reflection of what’s going on — the economic prospects, and demand in corporate and commercial space is robust,” Mapa said.
He said loan growth was driven by corporate borrowings for the financing of long-term projects, particularly in the telecommunications, power, infrastructure space, which are predominantly moving toward developments outside Metro Manila.
Gamboa said despite heavy competition and much liquidity in the financial markets, Metrobank is focused on maintaining market relevance, improving customer accessibility and pushing for retail and digital space for customers.
The bank is sticking to its three-year expansion plan, but moving toward digitization rather than concentrating on branch openings. It has opened 13 branches so far this year, which is still short from the 20 to 30 branch yearly openings previously announced. Some 60 automated teller machines were also up and running to date.
The bank budgeted P7 billion for capital expenditures (capex) this year, of which P4.9 billion is allotted for information technology (IT) systems. It recently raised more than P8 billion from its LTNCD issue in September, which is a part of its P20-billion LTNCD program. Mapa said more than P11 billion LTNCDs are still reserved for future issue when the need arises.
Meanwhile, the bank is launching its dollar-denominated Metro World Equity Feeder Fund in December, allowing investors to leverage on the strength of the dollar versus the Philippine peso at present. Through this UITF, investors can put in a minimum of $2,000, which will be invested in shares of stock of companies worldwide.
Metrobank is the banking arm of businessman George Ty under his umbrella conglomerate GT Capital Holdings Inc.