Uni­ver­sal, com­mer­cial banks book higher earn­ings

Business World - - BANKING & FINANCE - Melissa Luz T. Lopez

BIG BANKS booked higher in­comes in 2017 amid ro­bust lend­ing growth which off­set lower trad­ing gains, lat­est data from the Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas (BSP) showed.

Uni­ver­sal and com­mer­cial banks op­er­at­ing in the coun­try raked in a cu­mu­la­tive P146.33 bil­lion in net prof­its last year, up by 6.8% from the P136.956 bil­lion they made in 2016, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary cen­tral bank data.

Net in­ter­est in­come surged by 17.3% at end-De­cem­ber to reach P369.383 bil­lion, im­prov­ing from the P314.878 bil­lion drawn from lend­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Big banks granted a to­tal of P7.867-tril­lion loans last year, 17.3% higher than the P6.706- tril­lion credit lines handed out in 2016.

Of this amount, soured debts to­talled P97.531 bil­lion to post a slight rise from P93.801 bil­lion a year ago. Still, its share to to­tal loans de­clined to 1.24% from 1.4% the prior year.

De­posits held by big play­ers reached P10.614 bil­lion, an 11.9% in­crease from end-2016.

Mean­while, non- in­ter­est in­come net­ted P121.844 bil­lion, slip­ping by 5.4% from the P128.857 bil­lion gen­er­ated the pre­vi­ous year. The de­cline came as trad­ing in­come plunged by 28.3% to just P36.053 bil­lion, com­ing from P50.285 bil­lion booked in 2016.

In par­tic­u­lar, gains re­al­ized from for­eign ex­change trans­ac­tions stood at just P3.928 bil­lion, just a third of the P11.447 bil­lion which the banks made from cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions the pre­vi­ous year.

The peso de­pre­ci­ated by 5.78% ver­sus the dol­lar in 2017. The lo­cal unit av­er­aged at P50.4037 against the green­back last year, touch­ing 11-year-lows as it traded above P51.

On the other hand, op­er­at­ing costs grew at a more mod­est 11.4% rate to P311.774 bil­lion, com­ing from P279.866 bil­lion they spent a year prior.

Across the en­tire bank­ing sys­tem, pre­lim­i­nary BSP data showed that Philip­pine lenders booked a cu­mu­la­tive P167.734 bil­lion in net in­come in 2017, up by 8.7% from P154.31 bil­lion.

Sys­temwide loans reached P8.863 tril­lion, with non- per­form­ing debts ac­count­ing for just 1.72% of the to­tal at P152.655 bil­lion. The ra­tio im­proved from the 1.89% ra­tio posted in 2016, which meant that banks main­tained a health­ier as­set pro­file.

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