Eastwest Bank profit grows 35% to 6.2 billion
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — EastWest president and chief executive officer Antonio Moncupa Jr. said the record financial performance was achieved even as the bank faced a margin squeeze in 2019.

“We expect a reversal in 2020 and recover a good part of the lost margins. Better global and domestic market liquidity should drive deposit costs lower,” Moncupa said.

He said the listed bank is expected to post a decent earnings growth this year despite the impact of the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“We also expect our balance sheet to post decent growth as the country is expected to be among the more resilient economies even with COVID-19 and the resulting slowdown in the advanced economies and China,” he said.

Moncupa said the bank maintained its top-tier position in profitability with return on equity (ROE) at 14 percent to P28.7 billion from P25.7 billion.

The bank’s net interest income accounted for P2.2 billion of the P3.2 billion increase, while the remaining balance comprised of fees, commissions, and fixed income trading gains grew by P1 billion.

Operating expenses, excluding provisions for losses, increased by eight percent to P16.4 billion from P15.4 billion in line with the growth of the bank’s earning assets.

Provisions for losses inched up by three to P4 billion from P3.8 billion.

Moncupa said EastWest remains the most consumer-centric universal bank, with consumer loans accounting for 73 percent of its total loans.

The bank’s net interest margin (NIM) was at 6.9 percent for the full year, lower than the 7.4 percent it registered in 2018. Margins recovered to 7.6 percent in the last quarter from the 6.4 percent dip in the first quarter of 2019, where deposit costs went to record highs due to tight market liquidity.

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