RCBC sees growth in consumer business

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RIZAL COMMERCIAL Banking Corp. (RCBC) expects its consumer lending business to expand further as its thrift banking arm is absorbed by the parent by the second half of the year.

“You set a baseline right now, and the expectations are for more growth coming from the consumer base. I believe the growth targets will even be higher given the synergies we’ve seen. We expect that to happen after the merger,” RCBC Savings Bank President Rommel S. Latinazo told reporters on Friday.

He added that the bank would “like to be guided” by the 20% compounded annual growth of its consumer lending business for the past five years.

“I think the statements have been that the growth areas have been SME (small and medium enterprises) and consumer lending. Definitely, under the merged setup, there will be a stronger push for more growth in the consumer lending.”

In a previous disclosure, the Yuchengco-led commercial lender said it expects to complete its merger with RCBC Savings Bank on July 1, with RCBC assuming all assets and liabilities of the thrift bank.

The bank is absorbing the thrift lender to streamline capital deployment and operational cost efficiencies. Once the merger is complete, RCBC will have a combined branch network of over 400, with 149 offices coming from its savings arm.

With the consolidation of the thrift lender into its parent bank, Mr. Latinazo said the consumer business will continue to be “one of the pillars of growth” for RCBC.

“We continue to be aggressive and optimistic….For the auto loans, I think we see signs of the industry picking up. That’s something that bodes well for us,” Mr. Latinazo said.

“Aside from the auto and mortgage segments, we’re also growing our third product business which is salary loans. We’ve been expanding out tie-ups with our corporate customers and try to serve the financing needs of the employers.”

Apart from the consolidation, the robust growth in the middle market will boost RCBC’s consumer lending going forward.

“There’s more jobs being created. And for us consumer banking, the effect of that is we see an expansion in the middle market. More people are having jobs. Businesses are expanding. More investors coming in. The middle market is expanding,” the bank president added.

Latest central bank data showed RCBC Savings Bank was the third-biggest thrift bank in the country as of end-2018 with P139.92 billion in assets, lagging behind Ayala-led BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc. and Ty-controlled Philippine Savings Bank.

RCBC posted a P1.3-billion net income in the first quarter, up 15% from P1.1 billion booked in the same period in 2018. Its shares closed at P26.45 apiece on Friday, down five centavos or 0.19%. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal