PHILIPPINE National Bank (PNB) said it will boost its infrastructure financing activities this year to take advantage of the Duterte administration’s focus on infrastructure projects.
“There are actually many opportunities in the lending side, particularly given the thrust of the government, that they call the ‘golden age of infrastructure’,” PNB head of Treasury Horacio Cebrero 3rd said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Cebrero said the bank has been very active in infrastructure financing in the past three to four years, not only in the big-ticket public-private partnership (PPP) projects but also in farm-to-market roads sponsored by local governments.
“We made it quite our end in our target marketing to identify credit-worthy, competent contractors in the countryside and we have been quite successful in funding their needs,” he added.
Cebrero said PNB is closely coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other government agencies in the rollout of their infrastructure program.
The government targets to spend P847 billion on infrastructure projects this year that will be undertaken simultaneously in all regions, including small-, medium- and large-scale ventures. In the six years to 2022, the government intends to spend a total of P8.4 trillion on infrastructure.
“We are poised to take an active role in this,” Cebrero said.
He said the bank is also looking at opportunities in the power, telecommunications and agriculture sectors.
“We have also launched the program we call the agricultural value chain, wherein we will create specific credit product programs for small and medium enterprises out in the countryside that supply our major customers,” he said.
“All these present various opportunities and we are on track to expand our total loan portfolio [TLP] as we have done for the past three years,” Cebreo said.
This year, he said the bank’s TLP growth is seen at the mid-teens, in line with the 13 percent to 15 percent projected growth of the banking industry’s TLP.
In 2016, PNB’s loans and receivables grew by 17 percent to P428 billion as corporate and commercial lending expanded by 16 percent and 25 percent, respectively, while consumer loans increased by 10 percent.
PNB registered P7.2 billion net income for 2016, up 14 percent from P6.3 billion in 2015.