BPI head expects stronger year for banking in 2015

By Ted Torres, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 12 2014 08:01 AM | Updated as of Dec 12 2014 04:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The head of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) said 2015 is expected to be a stronger year for the country’s banking sector.

BPI president and chief executive officer Cezar P. Consing said total asset growth will likely remain robust due to favorable economic conditions.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is anticipated to expand slightly slower this year due to weaker public spending, especially in the infrastructure sector, and poor agriculture production.

Yet banks’ loan and deposit portfolio have been registering strong growth, aside from strong asset growth.

Total assets of the banking sector expanded nearly 24 percent last year, and the BPI chief executive expects most banks to record equal or better growth rates this year.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that banks’ assets were mainly in the form of loans and cash.

Consing explained that the previous year saw the country’s banking sector registering large trading gains from the first semester but in the last six months, banks became conservative and defended whatever trading gains remained.

This year, banks returned to the basics of deposit generation and lending, he noted.

BPI, in the first nine months of the year, reported net interest income growth of 15 percent on strong loan growth and improving deposit mix.

Net loans reached P702 billion, an increase of 28 percent over year-ago levels.

Deposits ended the quarter at a little over P1 trillion, an increase of 17 percent over year-ago levels.

Furthermore, the bank’s CASA ratio of 76.5 percent improved as compared to 68.9 percent one year ago and 72.7 percent the previous quarter.

“That’s very much how I see the banks in general and BPI, in particular, growing,” he added.

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