MANILA, Philippines — Gotianun-led East West Bank grew its first quarter net profit by 60 percent to P735 million from a year ago on higher interest margins alongside a surge in fee-based and trading income.
“The EastWest engine is running on all cylinders. We have the momentum and we plan to take advantage of the country’s favorable economic climate. We will continue our aggressive infrastructure build-up and business development efforts and further strengthen our governance practices,” EWB president Antonio Moncupa said in a press statement.
The bank reported that a strong growth in consumer lending and low-cost funds resulted in further improvement in the net interest margin (NIM) to 8 percent in the first quarter. This NIM level is more than twice the industry average of less than 4 percent.
Fee-based income grew by 27 percent, which was attributed to consumer loans and branch-related transactional fees and charges.
Like most of its peers, EWB took advantage of market opportunities as interest rates continued to drop, thus posting strong trading results from fixed income securities trading. Trading income increased by P777 million to end at P1 billion in the first three months year-on-year.
The bank expanded its asset base by 34 percent to P118.6 billion as of the end of March due mainly to the 54-percent growth of its loan book. Its lending portfolio comprised mostly of loans to consumers followed by exposure to mid-market corporate borrowers.
Consumer loans alone grew by 44 percent year-on-year while corporate loans grew 70 percent year-on-year, as the bank expanded its corporate lending organization three fold.
Consumer loans accounted for more than half of the loan portfolio at 55 percent.
Deposits stood at P86.7 billion, up by 32 percent from the same period, which was attributed to the expansion of its branch store network. Low cost deposits increased by 51 percent year-on-year and accounted for 54 percent of total deposits.