The thrift banking industry is optimistic that the segment’s double-digit growth in assets and loans will be sustained this year as lenders continue to focus their operations to niche markets like micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“We have been growing in terms of assets and loans by more than double digits,” Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) President Rommel Latinazo, said in a press conference held in Makati City on Wednesday.
Total assets of the industry last year reached P995 billion, growing by 13 percent from P880 billion in 2014.
Loans grew 20 percent to P687 billion from P572 billion in 2014, while deposits increased 14 percent to P798 billion from P700 billion a year ago.
With this, Latinazo said that because of the long-standing presence of the industry in the MSME market, it would be able to sustain the growth it achieved so far.
“We remain steadfast primarily because we operate in market niches where we believe that we have a strong foothold as far as the countryside is concerned, and as far as the market that we address, which is primarily the MSMEs,” he said.
Over the years, the CTB said the thrift banking industry has supported and reached out to the depositors and borrowers, especially in the countryside.
It said although the thrift-banking sector makes up about only 8 percent of the total resources of the banking system, thrift banks have focused their resources and provided solutions to the difficulties associated with MSMEs.
Data from the central bank showed that thrift banks’ lending to MSMEs as of September last year increase to P78.46 billion or 13 percent higher than the P69.35 billion a year ago.
“MSMEs is basically the where growth potential is as far as the economy is concerned. The government has likewise expressed the need for support to this sector and that is basically what we have been doing,” Latinazo said.
“The presence of the thrift banks especially in the countryside provides that support even with high competition brought by new entrants,” he concluded.
In connection with the prospects and challenges the industry faces, the CTB announced that its annual convention would be held on March 18 at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.
The banking group said through the convention, it aims to solidify its role as conduits of growth between the financing industry and MSMEs, the socialized and low-cost housing sector, and countryside businesses, including the personal consumption needs of clients with modest means.