Aug. 02--Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) said its net profit in the first six months fell by about a third from a year earlier due to lower trading gains, although it reported a strong performance for the second quarter.
BPI said net income in the first six months declined by 33 percent to P8.03 billion from the same time period last year.
Net interest income grew 15 percent year-o-year, driven by its core businesses, while net interest margin inched up 3.1 percent from 3 percent a year earlier.
Net lending increased 23 percent to P697 billion in the first half, while deposits went beyond the P1-billion mark for the first time, rising 30 percent P1.072 billion.
For the second quarter alone, net profit was up 21 percent year-on-year at P4.427 billion.
BPI president and chief executive officer Cesar Consing told a press briefing that the bank continues to show strong growth despite the lack of trading gains this year.
Asked how the Asean economic integration next year would impact the local banking sector, Consing said regional banks can still expand in the Philippines because the country offers "lots of opportunities" for local and international players alike.
Only 20-25 percent of Filipinos currently have bank accounts, he said, which means a lot of room for industry players to expand in the Philippines. "There is still 75-80 percent of Filipinos who are still unbanked, so there's a lot of opportunities here."
"We expect both regional and international players coming in here in various forms," he said.
With the economic integration, "I think it will make for a much more competitive, a much more vibrant and, hopefully, a much healthier business climate," he added.
Natividad Alejo, president of BPI Capital Corp. and BPI Securities Corp., said that the bank has a retail customer base of 6.8 million and is targeting a new-customer flow of 700,000 to 800,000 yearly.
Some 80 percent of BPI's clients and customers transacted in automated teller machines (ATMs) and cash acceptance machines as of end-June, while the rest of its customer base transacted in branches.
"But what we have seen is the large growth coming from the internet and mobile apps. And that is something we need to focus on," Alejo said.
BPI is the banking unit of the Ayala Group and is primarily engaged in deposittaking and lending or investment activities. Its subsidiaries are BPI Family Savings Bank Inc.; BPI Capital Corp.; BPI Leasing Corp.; BPI Direct Savings Bank; BPI International Finance Ltd., Hong Kong; BPI Express Remittance Corp.; Bank of the Philippine Islands (Europe) Plc; Ayala Plans Inc.; and BPI/MS Insurance Corp.
As of December 2013, BPI had 814 branches across the country, including 66 kiosks and nine overseas branches. Its ATM network, known as the ExpressNet, has a total of 2,507 terminals servicing customers nationwide.
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