LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) saw its net earnings climb by 1.67% to P5.48 billion in the first quarter, the state-run bank said in a press release on Tuesday.

LANDBANK said its performance in the first three months put it on track to hit its profit target of P19.68 billion by the year’s end.

The bank’s net income at end-March translated to a return on equity of 10.09% and return on assets of 0.77%.

Meanwhile, its net interest margin stood at 3.11%.

On the other hand, LANDBANK’s capital jumped by 32.44% to P194.59 billion in the first quarter from P146.93 billion a year ago. It attributed the increase to higher deposits and the P27.5 billion equity infusion from the national government in February.

Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II) mandated the government to provide supplemental funding to LANDBANK and other key state-run financial institutions to help sectors recover from the pandemic.

Deposits with the bank climbed 16.2% to P2.123 trillion in the first quarter from P1.827 trillion at the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, it approved a combined P93.14 billion in loans as of April.

Broken down, around P20.07 billion of the total went to 434 micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) borrowers, 81 cooperatives, 56 big firms and five microfinance institutions.

It also granted 245 local government units (LGUs) P72.18 billion in loans to help boost their local economies, while P889 million was approved for 20 private schools to support a “study now, pay later” scheme for students.

LANDBANK launched several lending programs for MSMEs, LGUs, and schools that have been affected by the prolonged coronavirus crisis.

“The robust growth of our deposit base coupled with the equity booked from Bayanihan II allows us to extend greater financial assistance to our priority sectors, especially to small farmers and fishers, MSMEs, and other key development players. LANDBANK remains in prime position to continue providing for the recovery requirements of clients and the nation at large,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the state-run bank’s assets grew by 16.13% to P2.405 trillion at the end of March from P2.071 trillion in the same period last year.

Other details were not immediately available.

LANDBANK saw a 7.57% drop in its net income to P17.1 billion last year amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. — BML