BPI DIRECT BanKo, Inc., the microfinance arm of listed Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), expects its loans to grow sixfold this year supported by its aggressive branch expansion.
On Monday, BPI Direct BanKo President Jerome B. Minglana said the microfinance lender targets to have P3.3 billion in total outstanding loans at the end of the year, up sixfold from last year’s P500 million.
“We will be targeting probably P2.1 billion in outstanding balance and about P3.3 billion in bookings this year, Mr. Minglana told reporters in a briefing in Quezon City.
He added that the bank expects robust loan portfolio growth on the back of its rapid branch expansion.
“We’re not comparing apples to apples [since] we started last year with only 10 branches.”
BPI Direct BanKo said it will open 65 more branches this year to complete its target of having 200 offices by the end of the year.
Out of the 65 branches it intends to open until yearend, Mr. Minglana said 55 will be branch-lite offices or dressed-down and less complex versions of a typical branch.
“When you actually have those 200 branches in full force by the latter part of the year, there will be a multiplier effect there,” Mr. Minglana added. “It happens because as volumes grow, the number of branches increase as well.”
Despite its expectations of growing its loan book by six times this year, BPI Direct BanKo’s president said this will contribute little to parent BPI’s target of growing its retail loan book to 35% over the next few years.
“[Our contribution will be] very little if you would compare us with BPI, but what I can tell you is in number of people that we’re able to help, it’s a lot more,” he said.
Mr. Minglana said BPI Direct BanKo has serviced around 25,000 businessmen as of June.
“Our average loan size here is P60,000-P70,000 and we’re targeting billions [worth of loan bookings]. That’s a lot of loans,” he added.
BPI Direct BanKo was officially launched in 2017 after BPI’s two specialized thrift bank units — BPI Direct Savings Bank, Inc. and BPI Globe BanKo — were merged in 2016. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal