East West nets P1.29B in Q1 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Gotianun-led East West Bank grew its first quarter net profit by 36 percent year-on-year to P1.29 billion on higher fee-based income, foreign exchange and trading gains.
This first quarter performance translated to a return on equity of 12 percent, the bank disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Revenues rose by 13.3 percent year-on-year to P6.6 billion in the first three months, primarily driven by fees and commissions which grew by 29 percent to P1.3 billion. Securities and foreign exchange trading gains also raked in P525.1 million, turnaround from the net loss of P136.5 million in the same period last year.
The resumption of a Department of Education-sanctioned lending program for teachers by its rural bank subsidiary also contributed to the improved earnings.
“In first quarter 2019, our rural bank continued to normalize its public-school teacher financing program. We recovered from last year’s first quarter trading loss, and continue to benefit from the seasoning of our consumer loan portfolio”, East West president and deputy chief executive officer Bobby Reyes said.
The bank’s consumer loans comprised 71 percent of its total loans – the highest share recorded among universal banks in the Philippines. Due to this unique loan mix, its net interest margin (NIM) is among the highest in the industry at 6.4 percent. Consumer loans went up by 10 percent while middle-market business loans grew by 19 percent.
The total loan book grew by 12 percent year-on-year to P246.2 billion, funded by deposits which also expanded by 12 percent to P286.2 billion in the first quarter.
Net interest income in the first three months, however, fell by 3.3 percent year-on-year to P4.69 billion as interest expense on deposit liabilities more than doubled. Tighter liquidity in the financial system and higher funding costs also tempered the bank’s margins.
“For the rest of 2019, we expect market liquidity situation to improve and interest rates to go lower as the year progresses. This is expected to be felt in the second half of the year. In the first six months of the year, we expect continued challenges on net interest margins as deposit costs is expected to remain high while competition will exert pressure for loan yield adjustments to be subdued,” Reyes concluded.