STATE-RUN Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) saw a 7.57% drop in its net income last year amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

LANDBANK’s net earnings went down to P17.1 billion in 2020 from P18.5 billion in 2019, it said in a statement on Sunday.

The bank recorded P168.3 billion in capital, up 13% from the P149 billion recorded the year prior. Its net interest margin was at 3.16%.

On the funding side, its deposits grew by 17.4% to P2.093 trillion last year from P1.783 trillion in 2019.

The bank attributed the increase to the 41% expansion in investments to P983 billion from P695 billion.

Meanwhile, LANDBANK’s assets expanded by 16% to P2.362 trillion last year from the P2.033 trillion logged in 2019.

“LANDBANK posted marked growth in assets and deposits in 2020 — a record achievement given the widespread economic impact of the health crisis. We will build on these gains and continue along this path to better serve our priority sectors, especially small farmers and fishers, micro, small and medium enterprises and other key development players,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo was quoted as saying.

The lender’s return on assets was at 0.78% while return on equity was 10.8%.

LANDBANK is the conduit bank for social protection projects and lending programs of the government.

One of the bank’s priority areas is the agriculture sector. Its lending to the sector inched up by less than 1% to P237.62 billion in 2020 from P236.31 billion in 2019.

LANDBANK has 411 branches, 66 branch-lite units and 55 lending centers across the country. — B.M. Laforga