Asia United Bank (AUB) is expecting higher profits this year compared to 2021, but growth rates will not reach pre-pandemic levels because of numerous challenges it faces in 2022.
“The Bank is definitely looking at improved profitability in 2022 despite the realization that it will be another challenging year overall for the economy,” AUB President Manuel A. Gomez said during the bank’s Annual Stockholders Meeting.
He added that, “2022 will not likely be the year that banks will return to their pre-pandemic growth levels. Aggressive business growth will still be sidelined in favor of greater liquidity and stability.”
AUB posted a consolidated net income of P4.1 billion in 2021, 34 percent higher than P3.0 billion in 2020 due to improving business and consumer confidence that gave its core business a boost.
In the first three months of 2022, AUB posted a consolidated net income of P1.3 billion, 78.8 percent higher than P736.0 million in the same period in 2021.
While there are plenty of headwinds ahead, such as an escalating inflation rate due to the country’s heavy import dependence, the shrinking value of the peso versus the U.S. dollar, and rising pressures to raise taxes, the bank believes it can still manage to improve its net interest margin ratio which stood at 3.6 percent in 2021.
“This can be achieved by growing its low-cost current account/savings account (CASA) funds, which rose to nearly P220 billion in 2021, not only an all-time high for AUB but also one of the highest in the industry,” the bank said in a statement.
AUB also expects to continue reaping the benefits of digitalization by increasing its productivity and operational efficiency.
“We expect 2022 to be a better year if we continue our hard work, agility to respond to evolving challenges in our operating environment, and vigilance against the emerging variants of COVID-19,” said Gomez.