Surviving through the economic backlash brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is a feat in itself. By doing the spadework and adjusting to the demands of a changed world, many financial institutions continue to grapple with the ongoing pandemic. However, it takes a special kind of fortitude to not just survive, but to thrive and grow in these unprecedented times.
The Asiamoney Best Bank Awards 2021 recognized this fortitude in Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (PSE: MBT), and fittingly hailed them as the “Best Domestic Bank in the Philippines”.
“Metrobank is a firm to be reckoned with in the Philippines,” said Asiamoney Editor Rashmi Kumar. “What stands out with Metrobank is its sheer resilience during tough times, including all the uncertainty caused by the pandemic over the past eighteen months,” she added.
Kumar further pointed out Metrobank’s status as one of the country’s foremost universal banks, offering a diverse stable of business and products for a range of clients while showing strong growth year after year.
Metrobank credited its resilience to the lessons they learned from surviving the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, a similar event that also left the economic backdrop in shambles. “Drawing from our experience back then, our mantra this time is to be proactive at the onset of a crisis so we can quickly get our feet back on the ground,” said Metrobank President Fabian S. Dee. The Bank pursued a prudent risk management strategy, ensured strong capital levels, and kept a healthy balance sheet with best-in-class asset quality metrics.
Dee further enumerated some of the bank’s key strategies that made them emerge and grow amid an economic downturn. “True to our meaningful banking promise, we first focused on what, or who, meant the most to us: the customers,” he beamed.
At the first signs of a possible economic downturn, the Bank immediately reached out to their clients, providing them with alternative access to banking services through digital technology, evaluating and providing advice to manage their financial health and conducting several webinars including a fraud awareness campaign to help protect customers.
Metrobank pursued a prudent and proactive approach in managing its portfolio to protect asset quality, and sustain long term profitability and capital strength.
Despite an economic downturn, the Bank managed to grow its low cost current and savings accounts (CASA) grew 22% to PhP1.3 trillion, reflecting the Bank’s solid deposit franchise and customer confidence in the Bank.