ASIA UNITED Bank Corp. (AUB) saw its consolidated net income jump by 56% last year on increased loan volume, higher margins, and lower loan loss provisions.

The bank and its four subsidiaries booked a net income of P6.3 billion in 2022, it said in a disclosure to the local bourse on Tuesday.

This translated to a return on equity of 16.2%, higher than 11.1% in 2021. Return on assets also rose to 1.9% last year from 1.3% previously.

In the fourth quarter alone, AUB’s net income stood at P1.7 billion, 54% higher year on year.

Its financial statement was not available as of press time.

“We believe our agility in achieving a balance among growth, pricing, expense and risk management will continue to enable us to surmount the challenges of higher inflation and interest rate volatility that are seen to persist in 2023,” AUB President Manuel A. Gomez said in a statement.

The bank’s net interest income rose 18% year on year to P12.9 billion, which it said was driven by higher interest earnings from loans and investment securities and controlled interest expenses.

This caused its net interest margin to rise to 4.2% from 3.7%.

Meanwhile, operating expenses inched up by 2%, with its cost-to-income ratio declining to 37.5% from 42.4% the year prior.

“This resulted from the bank’s continuous automation enhancements and process optimization to deliver quality services to customers efficiently at less cost,” it said.

AUB’s loan portfolio grew 12% year on year to P195 billion as the economy continued to reopen and amid improved asset quality, it said in the statement. 

“The heftier loan volume mostly came from the bank’s corporate clients which started restocking their inventories and resuming business activities due to the economy’s reopening,” the bank said.

“Mirroring the improved business climate in the country, AUB reduced its loan loss provisions by 33% to P1.6 billion versus a year ago, while its nonperforming loans (NPL) ratio shrank to 1% and NPL coverage ratio strengthened to 115.1%,” it added.

Meanwhile, its deposits rose by 10% year on year to P288.8 billion. Low-cost current and savings account deposits accounted for 75% of the total.

AUB’s loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 67.5%.

The bank’s assets stood P340.2 billion in 2022, growing by 7% year on year.

Total equity was at P39.9 billion. Its common equity Tier 1 ratio was at 13.7%, while its capital adequacy ratio stood at 14.3%.

AUB’s shares closed unchanged at P43.60 apiece on Tuesday. — A.M.C. Sy