Monday, 18 May 2009

Philippines' Metrobank net up by 10%

Gerard S. dela Peña

METROPOLITAN BANK and Trust Co. (Metrobank), the country’s second largest lender, booked a 10.2% growth in its earnings in the first quarter after gains from treasury operations recovered.

The Ty-led bank’s consolidated net income reached P1.94 billion in the first three months of the year from P1.76 billion in the same period last year.

This was the first time in four quarters that the bank recorded a quarterly profit that was higher than in the same period the year before.

Profits in the first to third quarters of last year had slumped in relation to comparable periods in 2007. For the whole of 2008, net income was 37.5% lower at P4.4 billion.

The bank attributed this year’s first quarter profit growth to the rebound in its securities trading and foreign exchange gains, which registered a 68.5% year-on-year growth to P1.44 billion.

Last year, Metrobank recorded a 58.76% year-on-year drop in its treasury operations to P853.46 million due to rising interest rates that pummeled bond prices.

Boosting the bank’s earnings during the period was a 41.5% growth in net interest income to P7.03 billion. This was backed by a 5.7% increase in net loans and receivables to P331.75 billion as well as a 12.3% expansion in deposits to P554.39 billion.

The bank’s bad loan ratio was unchanged from 4.92% in the same period last year.

"Volumes grew steadily in tandem with our thrust to preserve credit quality, while margins expanded as a result of better credit spreads and improved deposit mix," Arthur V. Ty, Metrobank president, said in a statement.

The bank’s operating expenses rose by 1.6% to P6.37 billion, even if the bank shored up its defenses by allocating more provisions for loan losses amounting to P1.46 billion from P1.16 billion last year.

Metrobank ranked as the second largest bank in the country during the period with consolidated assets amounting to P755.65 billion.

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