BDO UNIBANK, Inc.’s net income grew by 12% year on year in the first quarter as its core businesses remained strong, it said on Thursday.

The Sy-led bank posted net earnings of P18.5 billion in the January-March period, BDO said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

“This resulted in an annualized return on common equity of 14.3% for the first quarter of 2024,” it said.

The bank’s financial statement was unavailable as of press time.

BDO’s net interest income grew by 13% year on year in the first quarter, it said.

Meanwhile, its non-interest income rose by 11% amid “steady” growth in its fee-based, treasury and foreign exchange businesses, as well as the recovery in life insurance premiums, the listed lender said.

The bank’s gross customer loans increased by 13% year on year in the quarter driven by growth across various market segments, BDO said.

Despite higher loans, asset quality “remained stable” versus the previous quarter amid its “continued conservative credit and provisioning policies,” BDO said.

The bank’s nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio stood at 1.88% at end-March, while its NPL coverage ratio was at 181%.

On the funding side, deposits with the bank grew by 13% in the first quarter, mainly driven by low-cost current and savings account or CASA deposits.

The bank’s common equity went up by 12% as it remained profitable, with book value per share also rising by 12% to P99.23.

“BDO’s mission to “be the preferred bank in every market it serves” anchors its business philosophy of pursuing long-term growth and profitability, while sustaining market leadership backed by a strong balance sheet and diversified business franchise,” the lender added.

BDO was the Philippines’ largest bank in asset terms at end-2023 with P4.28 trillion, central bank data showed.

The bank has a total of 1,700 operating branches and more than 5,500 automated teller machines nationwide. It has 16 international offices, including full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore, in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

BDO’s shares declined by P1.90 or 1.27% to close at P148.10 apiece on Thursday. — A.M.C. Sy