China Bank profits jump 61% to P3.6-B

Published April 30, 2021, 6:00 AM

by James A. Loyola

China Banking Corporation posted a 61 percent jump in net income to P3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021 for an improved return on equity of 13.4 percent and return on assets of 1.4 percent. 

“We are gratified by these very positive results and by the continued support of our customers and the dedication of our employees,” said China Bank President William C. Whang in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange. 

Amid the economic downturn due to the pandemic, China Bank continued to post strong growth in its core businesses, to provide higher pandemic-related buffers, to absorb the one-time impact of the CREATE law on deferred tax assets, and to keep the growth of operating expenses moderate despite adjusting priorities for pandemic-related expenses.

Net interest income rose 16 percent year-on-year to P9.2 billion, mainly due to the 52 percent drop in interest expense, which led to a higher net interest margin of 4.2 percent from 3.8 percent in the same period last year.

This was supplemented by a three-fold growth in fee-based income to P3.6 billion, driven by strong trading and securities gains of P2.2 billion.

To address potential loan defaults that may arise from a drawn out pandemic, China Bank booked credit provisioning of more than five times to P2.2 billion from P412 million in the same period last year.

Consolidated non-performing loan coverage was at 86 percent, with a corresponding NPL coverage ratio of 100 percent for the parent bank. Deferred tax asset amounting to P507 million was written down as a result of the effectivity of the CREATE law. 

Operating expenses stood at P6.2 billion, up 6 percent, with a better cost-efficiency ratio of 49 percent. 

China Bank’s balance sheet remained healthy, with P1 trillion in assets.

Gross loans declined 3 percent to P572 billion as loan demand remained weak due to the lingering economic uncertainties. The Bank said it continued to assist customers in raising funds via corporate notes and bonds. 

Gross non-performing loans ratio rose to 3.8 percent year-on-year from 1.7 percent, lower than industry average. 

“We will further strengthen our liquidity position, maintain adequate capital, and enhance credit risk management while working with our customers who are severely impacted by the pandemic,” said China Bank Chief Finance Officer Patrick D. Cheng. 

Total deposits rose 4 percent to P817 billion, underpinned by 23 percent growth in checking and savings accounts. CASA ratio for the quarter improved to 62 percent from 52 percent.