Listed Union Bank of the Philippines is optimistic in hitting its targets this year after posting a double-digit growth in its first half net profit

The Aboitiz-led lender said in a statement on Monday that it had a better first half of 2021, with a net earnings of P8.3 billion, up 94 percent from the same period last year. This resulted in a 15.9 percent return on investment.

However, the writer computed that the company's net income expanded by just 84.44 percent in the first half of this year compared to the P4.5 billion net profit previously reported by UnionBank for the same period last year.

The company's net revenue climbed by 16 percent to P25.5 billion. Net interest income grew by 7 percent to P14.8 billion, owing to wider net interest margins of 4.7 percent compared to 4.4 percent the previous year.

Strong trading gains, higher foreign exchange income, and higher fees and commissions boosted non-interest income by 33 percent to P10.7 billion.

Loan loss provisions were P3.1 billion, down 56 percent from the previous year "as non-performing loans (NPL) started to stabilize." UnionBank's NPL ratio had improved to 4.7 percent from 5.1 percent as of end-2020.

Total assets were P733.6 billion at the end of June this year. The bank said "on muted corporate and commercial credit demand, total loans and receivables fell 4 percent year-on-year to P336.9 billion. Total current account and savings account deposits, on the other hand, jumped by 28 percent to P299.6 billion, a new high.

"Our strong first half performance and good trajectory gives us confidence that we will hit our full- year targets. Our NPLs are on a declining trend driven by proactive efforts to manage credit risk," Jose Emmanuel Hilado, UnionBank's chief financial officer and treasurer, said in the statement.