Metrobank profit jumps 21% in the first quarter

Posted on May 14, 2011

The Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) booked a consolidated net income of P3.1 billion in the first quarter, 21.2% higher than in the same period last year.

In a statement to the stock exchange on Friday, Metrobank, the country’s second largest bank in asset terms terms, said the profit growth was propelled by the "steady growth in [the bank’s] core revenues...and sustained improvement in asset quality."

Total operating income amounted to P11.8 billion on the back of net interest earnings that climbed by 13.1% to P7.3 billion.

It did not say if its non-interest income rose or fell, saying only that gains from securities and foreign exchange trading fell to P1.3 billion from P1.9 billion but service charges, fees and commissions rose to P1.9 billion during the three-month period.

On the expenditure side, the bank’s operating expenses inched up by 0.9% to P7 billion.

Bank shares closed at P67.65 apiece on Friday, 65 centavos higher than the previous day.

Deposits rose by 18.5%, raising Metrobank’s deposit base to P713.5 billion, while net loans and receivables rose by 14.5% to P387.7 billion on the back of higher demand for consumer and corporate loans.

Jette C. Gamboa, Metrobank vice president and head for investor relations, has said the bank expected an 8 to 12% loan growth this year given the bank’s focus on its consumer lending business.

"The bank continues to effectively manage balance sheet strength in tandem with quality growth," Metrobank also said.

It was able to reduce gross non-performing loans, bringing its non-performing loan ratio -- the ratio of soured loans to total loans -- to 2.9% in the first quarter from 3.5% last year.

Its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) -- a measure of the bank’s financial strength -- and Tier 1 CAR stood at 17.5% and 13.5% in the first quarter, up from 15.1% and 10.4%, respectively from last year, far exceeding the central bank’s 10% minimum CAR requirement.

Metrobank currently has 750 local branches and 35 foreign branches as well as 1,300 automated teller machines nationwide. -- A. R. R. Gregorio