Monday, December 11, 2017
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Union Bank branches in Mindanao open to serve displaced residents

All Mindanao branches of Union Bank of the Philippines are doing business as usual, including the Iligan branch, even after the island has been placed under martial rule following the Marawi crisis.

Union Bank of the Philippines president and chief operating officer Edwin Bautista said it was important for their branches to be in full operation to help displaced Marawi residents moving to safer refuge, including Iligan.

Bautista said automated teller machines were up and running and branches were ready to process transactions. “The last thing that we should do at this time is to panic and start to hold back, so right now it is business as usual,” he said.

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President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday night in response to clashes between government troops and the ISIS-sympathetic Maute group in Marawi.

Government officials have yet to confirm if the death toll already includes civilians. Thousands of people were forced to transfer to nearby cities, including Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

On the sidelines of the Union Bank’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday, Bautista said the board had given branch managers the authority to make the call to close their offices “anytime they feel not safe.”

He also said the Iligan Bankers’ Association met and recommended closing banks an hour earlier than regular, or at 3 p.m.

Bautista said, however, there was no need yet and the situation, so far, was “back to normal.”

The Aboitiz-led bank’s wholly owned subsidiary City Savings Bank is also conducting normal operations in its 29 branches in Mindanao, even those in critical areas.

City Savings executive vice president for channel management Jose Levi Villanueva noted that even though their branches were doing usual business, they urged branch managers to have ample time to go home before the night falls.

Also on Friday, Union Bank reported it had continued its growth momentum, growing its net profit to P2.2 billion in the first quarter of the year, up by 37.2 percent compared to the same period last year. Due to the robust expansion in customer loans and deposits, recurring income went up by 12 percent to P5.1 billion.

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Total loans also surged by 33.3 percent to P253.2 billion year-on-year while total deposits registered a 28-percent growth to P405.1 billion.

Net interest income also rose by 11 percent to P3.9 billion while fees increased by 18 percent to P1.1 billion.

Villanueva also reported the savings bank’s net income for the first three months of 2017 grew by 31 percent from the same period last year due to robust loan releases. He refused to disclose the exact figure.

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