The main office of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in Manila. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE PHILIPPINE BANKING sector’s total assets climbed by 12% year on year at end-April, driven by an increase in loans, according to preliminary data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Central bank data showed that banks’ combined assets rose to P25.48 trillion as of April from P22.76 trillion in the same period a year ago.

Month on month, however, assets slipped by 0.7% from P25.65 trillion in March.

Banks’ assets are mainly supported by loans, deposits and investments. These include cash and due from banks as well as interbank loans receivable (IBL) and reverse repurchase (RRP), net of allowances for credit losses.

Broken down, the banking system’s total loan portfolio inclusive of IBL and RRP jumped by 11.2% to P13.47 trillion as of April from P12.12 trillion the year prior.

Net investments — or financial assets and equity investments in subsidiaries — rose by 11.7% to P7.38 trillion at end-April from P6.61 trillion in the same period in 2023.

On the other hand, cash and due from banks declined by 7.5% to P2.54 trillion from P2.75 trillion year on year.

Net real and other properties acquired went up by 5.3% to P106.41 billion from P101.09 billion.

Other assets stood at P1.99 trillion, surging by 68% from the P1.18 trillion in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the total liabilities of the banking industry increased by 12.4% to P22.41 trillion as of April from P19.94 trillion a year prior.

Bulk of these were deposit liabilities, which stood at P19 trillion in the period, up by 8.57% year on year from P17.5 trillion.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the growth of the banking sector’s assets reflects the resilience of the banking industry.

“The Philippine banking industry is one of the most profitable and most resilient industries in the country despite challenges in recent years, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, always outperforming gross domestic product (GDP) growth,” he said in a Viber message.

Latest data from the BSP showed that bank lending grew by 9.6% to P11.91 trillion as of end-April from P10.87 trillion a year ago, the fastest increase in 12 months.

Mr. Ricafort added that banks’ asset growth was driven by the double-digit increase in lenders’ earnings.

Separate BSP data showed that the banking industry’s net income rose by 2.95% to P92.107 billion at end-March from P89.47 billion in the same period a year ago.

“The month-on-month decline could be attributed to tax payments by banks and some of their clients or depositors since April is the tax filing and payment season in a typical year, based on consistent patterns seen for many years,” he added.

Taxpayers were required to file their annual income tax returns and first-quarter value-added tax payments in April. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson