PHILIPPINE NATIONAL Bank’s (PNB) net profit inched up marginally in 2019, supported by the growth in its net interest income and gains from fees, commissions and trading.

In a statement on Monday, the Tan-led lender said its net income in 2019 rose by 2.08% to P9.8 billion coming from the P9.6 billion booked in 2018.

The bank attributed the earnings expansion to strong growth in net interest income, fees and commissions, as well as trading gains.

PNB’s net interest income jumped 20% year-on-year to P32.4 billion in 2019, buoyed by improved earnings from loans to corporate, commercial and small and medium enterprises, as well as in other interest-earning assets.

“I am pleased with the improvements in our core income for 2019. Excluding the impact of non-recurring gains from the sale of foreclosed assets, the bank’s core net income grew by 57% year-on-year,” PNB President and CEO Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso said in a statement

Likewise, the bank’s net service fees and commission income stretched by 20%, supported by “enhanced cross selling efforts resulting in improvements in underwriting fees from capital market transactions as well as loan, deposit and credit card-related fees.”

PNB’s net trading and foreign exchange gains skyrocketed by 97%, bolstered mainly by “favorable opportunities in the market.”

On the other hand, net gains from sale of acquired assets dropped P690 million in 2019 coming from P5.9 billion in 2019.

Despite this, PNB’s total operating income saw a 6% improvement on the back of growth in core revenues. Excluding net gains from sales of foreclosed asset sales, total operating income increased by 22% year-on-year.

Operating expenses, excluding provisions for impairment and credit losses, inched up by 9% last year.

The lender added that loan receivables climbed by 12% to P657.9 billion in 2019. Likewise, deposit liabilities grew 13% to hit P826 billion.

PNB’s asset quality remained strong with a nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio of 0.68% net of valuation reserves and 1.99% at gross. Its NPL coverage on the other hand stood at 118.92%.

The bank’s consolidated risk-based capital adequacy ratio stood at 14.18%, while its common equity Tier 1 ratio was at 14.1% as of end-2019, both beyond the regulatory minimum.

At the end of 2019, the bank’s total consolidated resources climbed 16% to P1.14 trillion.

“The year’s financial results reflect the strength of PNB’s franchise in its wholesale and retail businesses,” Mr. Veloso said.

“We expect to sustain the improvement in the quality of earnings of the bank as we enhance the safe and aggressive growth strategy with added focus on profitability moving forward,” he added.

PNB’s shares ended trading at P26.90 apiece on Monday, shedding P1.10 or 3.93% from its previous close. — Luz Wendy T. Noble