ROBINSONS BANK Corp. eyes to double its net profit this year on the back of growth in its earnings from interest and fees.

In a text message, Robinsons Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Elfren Antonio S. Sarte said the Gokongwei-led bank is looking at a P756-million net income for the parent bank in 2019.

If realized, this will more than double the P317.11-million bottom line it recorded in 2018.

“Main driver will be growth in interest income,” Mr. Sarte said.

In a previous message, the bank chief said Robinsons Bank’s growth for this year is expected to be mainly supported by lending activities, with demand for both commercial and consumer loans expected to “remain strong” amid easing inflation.

Inflation continued to ease for the sixth straight month in April to settle at 3%, down from the 3.3% recorded the previous month, driven by slower increases in food and non-alcoholic beverage costs.

Apart from Robinson’s Bank’s interest income, Mr. Sarte added that its fee income is seen to improve on the back of its new businesses such as bancassurance as well as credit card issuing and acquiring.

The commercial bank signed a bancassurance partnership with Pru Life Insurance Corp. of UK in a bid to expand the lender’s product offerings.

It also ventured into the merchant acquiring business or processing credit and debit card transactions in behalf of retail partners through point-of-sale terminals.

Robinsons Bank’s 2018 income was 3.2% higher from P307.39 million posted in 2017. However, the bank was not able to hit its income goal of P500 million due to “lower interest margins due to higher of funds.”

The lender is mulling to go public within four years as part of its strategy to scale up operations to become a universal bank.

To be granted unibank status, Robinsons Bank has to beef up its capital to meet the P20-billion requirement set by the BSP, which can be achieved through an initial public offering, a stock rights offer from its investors, or a strategic partnership.

Making it to the top tier would allow the bank to offer more sophisticated products and services to clients. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal