BANK of the Philippine Islands’ thrift banking arm is raising funds from bonds.

THE THRIFT BANKING arm of Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has been awarded the top credit rating by a local debt watcher for its P35-billion bonds.

Philippine Rating Services Corp. (PhilRatings) said in a statement yesterday it has given BPI Family Savings Bank a “PRS Aaa (corp)” rating with a stable outlook for its proposed three-year shelf registration securities program.

The rating and outlook mean BPI Family Savings Bank is believed to have a “very strong capacity” to meet its financial commitments in the next 12 months.

“The assigned issuer rating to (BPI Family Savings Bank) considers the bank’s solid brand equity; highly-experienced Board and management; sound capitalization; close strategic link with its strong Parent; and the favorable outlook for the consumer market,” PhilRatings said.

The company is undertaking a P35-billion bond program, where the first tranche valued at P2 billion was sold last month and is scheduled to list at the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. on Dec. 16.

PhilRatings said its high credit rating for the thrift bank takes into account the company’s standing as the largest in the country with 21.9% market share in terms of assets, 23.9% in net loans and receivables, 23.4% in deposits and 19.7% in capital.

It also considered the company’s “leading presence” across the country, noting that it has 1,108 branches and branch-lite units, three international offices 2,900 ATMs and cash acceptance machines.

The stability of its parent BPI is also perceived by PhilRatings as a reliable support for the thrift bank, both in terms of financials and management.

“Common directors between (BPI Family Savings Bank) and BPI ensure that (its) strategic direction is line with the long-term goals of the BPI Group,” it said.

BPI posted a net income of P22.03 billion in the nine months to September, up 29.5% year-on-year, as its third- quarter earnings grew 38.6% to P8.29 billion.

“PhilRatings shall continuously monitor developments relating to (BPI Family Savings Bank) and may change the rating at any time, should circumstances warrant a change,” it said.

Shares in BPI at the stock exchange rose P1.50 or 1.69% to P90.50 each on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez