Manila—(PHStocks)—Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank, PSE: MBT) reported a 20% increase in its core earnings, ending the year 2015 with a consolidated net income of PhP18.6 billion. Total resources hit a new high of PhP1.8 trillion.
For its overall performance, Metrobank was recognized as the Strongest Bank in the Philippines by The Asian Banker. Metrobank ranked No. 9 overall in Asia, making it the first time a Philippine bank reached the Top Ten category.
“We expected 2015 to be another challenging year for the banking industry. Both loans and deposits growth showed a slowdown, while market conditions limited trading opportunities. Under this scenario, our priority was to continue supporting our clients in their commercial and retail needs, as well as generating low cost deposits and fee-based income,” said Metrobank President Fabian S. Dee. “Our investments in improving client coverage, automation and system enhancements coupled with better internal synergy helped mitigate industry challenges.”
“We also increased capital early last year to ensure we had the financial strength to take on growth opportunities and to help us withstand potential external and market shocks,” added Dee.
Following the PhP32 billion Stock Rights Offer in April 2015, Metrobank’s Basel III total capital adequacy ratio (CAR) remained well above the regulatory limit at 17.75%, with Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) at 14.25%.
Metrobank was able to execute on its strategy and as a result, produced double digit growth in loans and CASA and maintained relatively stable spreads despite the persistent strong competitive pressure.
In 2015, the bank grew CASA by 18%, more than double system deposit growth and continued to provide the Bank with stable low cost funding to fuel its sustained loan expansion. It ended the year with total deposits of PhP1.3 trillion, with a CASA ratio of 56%.
Despite the slowdown in overall industry loans, Metrobank continued to look for opportunities where it could add value to customer’s business growth plans. The bank capitalized on pockets of demand in the commercial and consumer space to expand net loans and receivables by 17% year-on-year. With strong demand for long term financing coming into the third and fourth quarter, the bank ended the year with a loan portfolio of PhP887.2 billion. Overall, this resulted in Metrobank outpacing the industry’s 13% year-on-year loan expansion.
Metrobank booked PhP49.0 billion in net interest income for full-year 2015. This now comprises over 70% of total operating income, and strengthens the bank’s focus on key priority areas and more stable revenue generating segments. The relatively steady net interest margin of 3.54% is still the highest among its peer group.
Meanwhile, the bank reported PhP18.4 billion in non-interest income. This came from PhP9.8 billion in service charges, fees and commissions, which went up by 10% from last year; PhP1.8 billion in trading and FX gains, and PhP6.8 billion in other income. On the other hand, operating expenses were kept at a reasonable level with single-digit cost growth.
Asset quality continues to improve with non-performing loans (NPL) ratio at a new low, or under the 1.0% level. Due to the consistently improving trend of asset quality relative to the steady growth of its portfolio, Metrobank set aside provisions for credit and impairment losses of PhP2.1 billion.
Metrobank continued to pursue its coverage expansion strategy to improve customer accessibility by opening 23 branches and installing 126 new ATMs. This brings the consolidated total to 943 and 2,226, respectively.