EAST WEST Banking Corp. (EastWest Bank) saw a steep increase in its net income in the first nine months of the year, driven by growth across all its businesses.

In a statement released to the local bourse on Thursday, the Gotianun-led EastWest Bank reported that it booked a P3.75- billion net income for the January to September period, a 60% jump from the P2.33 billion recorded in the same months a year ago.

Excluding trading gains, EastWest Bank’s net interest income climbed 22%, while its earnings from fee-based businesses grew 30%.

The bank’s lending book grew 18% to P216.3 billion. Consumer loans grew 29% — making up 72% of EastWest bank’s portfolio — led by the bank’s auto loans business.

Meanwhile, total deposits rose 19% to P257.1 billion, with low-cost deposits growing 23%.

On the other hand, the bank’s non-interest earnings rose 5% year on year, pulled down by a 70% decrease in profits from securities trading.

Operating expenses climbed 16% to P9.9 billion.

The bank’s assets climbed 17% to P314.9 billion, which it attributed to the continued expansion of its lending book.

EastWest Bank President Jesus Roberto S. Reyes said: “We are happy to note that our higher income is mainly due to improving productivity and lower loan loss provisions. These two items more than offset the much lower trading revenues and the substantial increase in taxes even as our NPL (non-performing loans) loan loss coverage significantly improved.”

“Our third quarter results prove that we are on the right track… As we had projected, we are enjoying the early fruits of our store network expansion which enabled us to generate more deposits, which in turn allowed us to fund more loans and enhance our profitability,” Mr. Reyes added.

The bank’s nine-month performance resulted in a return on equity or 13.8%, while return on assets stood at 1.7%.

It also puts the bank on track to meet its 2017 income guidance.

“We are on track to end 2017 with a net income of P4.8 billion, or 41% higher versus the P3.4 billion booked in 2016,” said EastWest Bank chief executive officer Antonio C. Moncupa, Jr.

EastWest Bank has 446 branches nationwide. Shares in EastWest Bank closed at P32.20 apiece on Thursday, up by 40 centavos or 1.26% from Wednesday’s finish of P31.80 each. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal