RIZAL COMMERCIAL Banking Corp. (RCBC) saw its net income surge in the first nine months of the year driven by growth in its core business.

In a disclosure to the local bourse yesterday, the Yuchengco-led bank booked a 41% increase in its net earnings to P4.5 billion as of end-September from the P3.2 billion logged in the same period last year.

The bank did not provide third quarter financial data.

“The robust growth was driven by the bank’s focus in strengthening its core business, consistently generating double-digit growth in net interest income,” the statement read.

The lender’s interest income from loans and receivables grew by 24% to P24.1 billion due to higher average loan volume of selected markets, it said.

Consumer loans also went up by 18% to P126.3 billion, which includes loans on mortgage, automobile and credit cards, while loans to small and medium enterprises (SME) increased 20% to P64.8 billion.

As of end-September, its gross outstanding credit card receivables also grew by 43% to P27.9 billion on the back of a higher active card base which expanded by 26% to 836,000.

“We see more potential in the fast-growing consumer and SME sectors. We expect them to be 50% of our customer base next year,” RCBC President and CEO Eugene Acevedo was quoted in the statement.

On the funding side, RCBC’s total deposits went up by P14 billion to P424.2 billion while current account, savings account deposits reaching P240.9 billion.

The bank also generated P7.1 billion in trading and foreign exchange gains during the nine-month period, while its fee-based income inched up by 12% to P3.1 billion “driven by higher revenues from deposit and branch fees, card-related fees and trust fees”.

In the nine months to September, the bank’s operating expenses stood at P16.3 billion, rising due to the growth in business volume, with a 43% year-on-year hike in gross revenues.

RCBC’s total assets also inched up by 9% to P670.7 billion at end-September from the P614.4 billion a year earlier.

As of September, the bank’s capital funds stood at P84.7 billion, while its capital adequacy ratio and common equity Tier 1 ratio stood at 14.07% and 13.2%, respectively.

In early September, the bank issued $300 million worth of five-year unsecured bonds under its Sustainable Finance Framework, receiving strong interest from “large and well diversified investor base from Asia and Europe.”

Shares in RCBC dropped five centavos or 0.19% to P25.90 apiece on Wednesday. — Beatrice M. Laforga