By James A. Loyola
Unibank, Inc. (BDO), the country’s top bank in terms of assets, posted a 17 percent jump in net income to a record P32.7 billion last year from P28.1 billion in 2017, beating the Bank’s P31 billion full-year guidance.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the bank said its higher profit came on the back of strong recurring earnings from its core businesses.
The Bank likewise capped another milestone as the first Philippine bank to breach the P3 trillion mark in total assets.
Leading the bank’s performance was the solid growth in its core lending and deposit-taking businesses.
Gross customer loans rose by 15 percent to P2.0 trillion on healthy increases across all market segments, while total deposits went up by 14 percent to P2.4 trillion, with low-cost CASA ratio at 70 per cent.
This resulted in the 20 percent expansion in net interest income to P98.3 billion on better net interest margins (NIM). The Bank’s NIM improved to 3.64 percent from 3.48 percent in 2017.
Meanwhile, non-interest income settled at P49.7 billion, with fee-based income contributing P30.7 billion and insurance premiums up 20 percent. Overall, gross operating income grew by 15 percent to P148 billion.
Operating expenses amounted to P98.0 billion, up 16 percent, in line with the Bank’s sustained investments in branch network and strategic initiatives.
Excluding taxes and licenses, which grew by 41 percent as a result of higher business volumes and increased documentary stamp taxes (DST) under TRAIN, operating expenses would have grown by 13 percent.
The bank remained prudent and set aside P6.3 billion in provisions even as NPL ratio further improved to 1.0 percent from 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. NPL cover was higher at 183 percent compared to 146 percent in 2017.