PNB plans major asset disposals by year’s end

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Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso, CEO and President of the Philippine National Bank (PNB)

Philippine National Bank (PNB) said hopes to dispose of underperforming assets, including real estate, this year to raise funds for more lending.

“The real estate we have in the bank should be earning assets, and that’s a priority because it will allow us to… make PNB lend more and do more businesses. We are hopeful that (these transactions) will materialize within the year,” PNB CEO and President Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso said in a virtual briefing Friday.

PNB disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange last month that its board approved the plan to dispose of prime properties to improve its financial position.

Bloomberg has reported that the assets include a 10-hectare property along Manila Bay, as well as an office building and a prime lot in Makati financial district.

The bank’s net profit was P52.6 million in the second quarter, down 97.5% from a year earlier.

PNB attributed the decline to increased loan loss provisioning of P8.4 billion in the first half, against P808.8 million a year earlier.

PNB said it considers the economy to be improvinge but will wait for third-quarter results before adjusting loan provisioning over the rest of the year.

“The third quarter has already demonstrated an improvement in terms of economic forecast. I would like to find out how will that continue in the fourth quarter,” Mr. Veloso said.

The bank added the positive forecast indicates “potential” improvement in its provisioning. — Kathryn Kristina T. Jose