Banks’ outstanding loans hit P3.22T

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Outstanding loans from universal and commercial banks maintained a double-digit pace of growth in March as high liquidity of the banking sector prompted industry members to service credit requirements of consumers and enterprises.

The loan portfolio of big banks reached P3.22 trillion as of end-March, up 14.2 percent from P2.82 trillion a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported Tuesday.

The increase in loans benefited both individuals and businesses, which were expected to use the proceeds to finance big-ticket purchases and investments.

Documents from the BSP showed that of the latest outstanding loans, the bulk or P2.93 trillion was accounted for by those extended to businesses. This was up 14.2 percent from P2.57 trillion a year ago.

Sectors that benefited the most from the expansion of credit to businesses included real estate, financial intermediation, transportation and communication, wholesale and retail trade, and utilities.

The balance of about P255.76 billion were outstanding loans to individual borrowers through credit card, housing, automobile and personal loans. The amount was up year-on-year by 10.8 percent from P230.84 billion.

“The sustained expansion in bank lending is in line with the robust growth prospects of the economy,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.

Meantime, the still robust expansion of bank loans pushed the growth in overall liquidity in the economy to the double-digit territory in March.

The BSP reported that domestic liquidity, measured in terms of M3, grew 11.4 percent to P5.05 trillion as of end-March from P4.54 trillion a year ago. A broad measure of money, M3 includes money in circulation, savings deposits, time deposits, demand deposits and money market instruments.

The rapid pace of growth in bank loans and liquidity has elicited speculations that the Philippine economy might be facing risks of overheating.

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