METROPOLITAN BANK & Trust Co. (Metrobank) was recognized as the strongest bank in the Philippines for 2021, with The Asian Banker citing its relatively strong capitalization and liquidity compared with its peers.

The Strongest Banks ranking of The Asian Banker is based on indicators such as scalability, balance sheet growth, risk profile, profitability, asset quality, and liquidity. Metrobank’s financial strength stood out for its asset quality and liquidity during the crisis.

“Compared to its peers in the Philippines, the winning bank showed stronger performance in capitalization and liquidity,” The Asian Banker was quoted as saying in a filing by Metrobank with the Philippine Stock Exchange.

“Its capital adequacy ratio improved further from 17.5% in 2019 to 20.2% in 2020, while its liquid assets to total deposits and borrowings ratio rose to 54.5% from 31.5%,” it noted.

The bank had the highest loss reserves to nonperforming loans ratio in the industry, and also had the second-lowest gross non-performing loan ratio at 2.4%, it added. Metrobank set aside P40.8 billion in provisions in 2020.

Metrobank President Fabian S. Dee said their proactive strategy helped the bank amid the pandemic.

“We knew we had to be prudent and practical during these uncertain times, so we took steps to ensure strong capital levels and to keep a healthy balance sheet with best-in-class asset quality,” Mr. Dee was quoted as saying.

The Ty-led lender was also recently recognized as the Best Domestic Bank in the Philippines at the Asiamoney Best Bank Awards 2021, where its “sheer resilience during tough times” was mentioned as its defining trait.

“On behalf of all Metrobankers, especially those who are at the frontlines, ensuring that the flow of financial activity remains uninterrupted at the height of a global pandemic, we would like to thank our valued clients for their trust and confidence throughout our almost six decades of service,” Mr. Dee said.

Metrobank’s net profit increased 29.9% year on year to P3.9 billion in the second quarter on improved fee-based income and lower operational costs.

This brought its net income in the first semester to P11.687 billion, 28% higher year on year.

Metrobank’s shares went up by 50 centavos or 1.02% to close at P49.50 apiece on Tuesday. — Luz Wendy T. Noble