Metrobank expects ‘consistent’ growth

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METROBANK sees steady growth on the back of the economy’s strength.

METROPOLITAN Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) expects its growth to be “consistent” this year compared with 2018 as it draws strength from the economy’s expansion.

Metrobank President Fabian S. Dee said on Thursday that the Ty-led lender’s growth for this year will be “consistent” given its size.

“We’ll be consistent [since] the bank our size, the baseline is already big. So in terms of percentage, it cannot be proportional anymore,” Mr. Dee told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Makati City.

Amid projections of a robust economy moving forward, Mr. Dee said Metrobank’s growth will track the country’s own expansion.

“Since it looks like the [gross domestic product] projections are quite healthy, we would expect similar results at the very least compared to 2018,” the official said.

According to latest data, the Philippine economy grew at its slowest pace in three years in the third quarter of 2018 at 6.1%, weighed down by tempered household spending amid elevated inflation.




Despite this, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in November the economy’s ability to sustain at least six percent growth for the past 14 quarters “suggests that we are now on a higher growth trajectory.”

Meanwhile, the bank said it “should expect” its lending growth to likewise remain strong in 2019 from the previous year, even as price increases are seen to decelerate.

“So far, I think…the inflation trend is already tapering off. So we’ve seen the highest it could go already,” Mr. Dee said.

The official said the bank is also optimistic that more investors will park their funds in the local market, given that the bourse “has been surging.”

“We’re also optimistic [given that] recently, if you see our index, it has been surging… So we’re hoping this trend will continue, especially when people are seeing that developed markets may have reached their optimal levels already in terms of valuation,” the bank president added.

“Hopefully, portfolio managers will be diversifying their investments and we will get a fair share of that.”

Last month, Metrobank raised P18 billion from the reissuance of its two-year peso-denominated bond program, which carry a tenor of two years with a rate of 7% per annum.

It also raised some P8.68 billion in October from the first tranche of its P25-billion long-term negotiable certificates of deposit program. The notes will mature in 5.5 years to be paid quarterly and carry a 5.375% rate.

Metrobank posted a P5.7-billion net income in the third quarter, 55% higher than the P3.7 billion recorded in the same period in 2017, supported by the solid performance of its core business.

Shares in Metrobank stood at P81.90 apiece on Thursday, up 45 centavos or 0.55% from the previous close. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal

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