EAST WEST Banking Corp. (EastWest Bank) booked higher earnings in the second quarter, driven by higher income from fees and commissions, trading gains, and lower credit costs.

In a disclosure to the local bourse on Wednesday, the bank said it posted a P1.41-billion net profit in the second quarter, climbing from the P1.279 billion it earned in April-June 2018.

The bank return on equity stood at 12.3% as of June versus last year’s 11.1%.

Net interest income climbed to P4.99 billion last quarter from the P4.77 billion booked in the same period last year on higher earnings from service charges, fees and commissions and an increase in trading gains as well as trust income.

Income from service charges, fees and commissions climbed to P1.41 billion from P1.064 billion in the comparable year-ago period, while trading gains amounted to P198.46 million, up from the previous year’s P80.72 million. Trust income rose to P15.16 million from last year’s P11.9 million.

Meanwhile, total operating expenses grew to P4.71 billion in the three-month period from P4.65 billion last year.

EastWest Bank’s first-semester net income stood at P2.7 billion, 21% higher than the P2.23 billion posted in the same period in 2018.

Net interest margin was at 6.5% for the semester.

“For the second half of 2019, we anticipate our net interest margins to recover as the liquidity situation improves and interest rates to normalize,” EastWest Bank President and Deputy CEO Bobby S. Reyes said in a statement.

“Last quarter, we mentioned that due to tight liquidity and higher funding costs, our margins were ‘squeezed’. We are slowly seeing improvement on this and anticipate a better second half for 2019,” Mr. Reyes added.

The bank’s capital adequacy ratio stood at 13% at end-June, while its common equity Tier 1 ratio was at 10.3%.

Total assets stood at P389.5 billion as of June 30 growing by 22% from the same period last year.

As of June 30, EastWest Bank had a total of 390 stores, with 212 of these stores in Metro Manila. Its total automated teller machine (ATM) network was at 583, composed of 399 on-site ATMs and 184 off-site ATMs.

EastWest Bank shares went up two centavos or 0.17% to P11.54 each.