East West Bank expanding retail base
MANILA -Gotianiun family-led East West Banking Corp. said it’s currently focusing on its core banking products, with no plans in the immediate future yet to venture into cryptocurrency.
East West Bank CEO Jerry Ngo said it was “not yet” the time for them to go into this digital currency, whether in terms of offering a trading platform for it or to pitch it as an investment instrument.
“The reality is that a lot of it is speculative. The value of it has no underlying [guarantee], Ngo told reporters last week during a media roundtable discussion.
“For us, I think there might be clients who are interested, fine. But we also want to make sure that we protect the overall investor base,” he said further.
From a bank’s perspective, Ngo said they want to focus more on providing people with access to credit and payment systems, and on investment instruments such as bonds, equities and commodities.
Reaching the unbanked
The East West Bank executive said they were optimistic of growth coming from the rise of e-wallet users in the country, hoping that these would eventually “graduate” to being bank account owners.
“At first, just being an e-wallet user is fine for small payments. But there will come a time when they need more funds,” Ngo said.
Last year, East West Bank’s core income went up by 42 percent, recording robust profits of P4.6 billion during the year on the back of the growth of its loans portfolio.
Revenues last year were also up 12 percent to P28.1 billion as its loan book grew 20 percent, driven by gains from credit cards, business and salary loans.
Total deposits were steady at P329.2 billion while the low-cost deposit ratio increased to 79 percent from 75 percent of total deposits.