Chinabank's profit rises 15% to P22 billion

China Banking Corp. (Chinabank) ended 2023 with a "record" net income of P22 billion, up 15 percent from the previous year's P19.1 billion, on strong growth in core business revenues, according to a report by Manila Times.

Its earnings performance translated to a return on equity of 15.5 percent and a return on assets of 1.6 percent, among the industry's best, the Sy-led bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our strong growth in 2023 solidifies our position as one of the top four banks in the country," said Romeo Uyan Jr., Chinabank president and chief executive officer.

"We remain focused on executing our business strategies while leveraging our investments in digitalization to deliver better services to our customers," he added.

The bank, a member of the SM Group, said net interest income rose 17 percent to P53.5 billion as the robust growth in loans and investments offset the impact of "significantly" higher interest expenses.

Net interest margin was maintained at 4.2 percent, while loan-loss provisions were trimmed to P1.2 billion amid better economic conditions.

Asset quality was stable, with a nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio of 2.5 percent and an NPL coverage of 104 percent.

Operating expenses, however, widened 11 percent year-on-year to P27 billion on higher volume-related taxes and heavier manpower and information technology investments, resulting in a cost-to-income ratio of 50 percent.

The "solid" 2023 results were attributed to continued operational efficiency initiatives and "strong client demand" for banking services.

"We will continue to strengthen our business fundamentals and capabilities to sustain our growth momentum in the coming years," Chinabank Chief Finance Officer Patrick Cheng said.

Gross loans rose 10 percent to P791 billion in 2023, with consumer loans accounting for 23 percent of the total loan portfolio.

Meanwhile, it said total deposits climbed 11 percent to P1.2 trillion, with a current account savings account (CASA) ratio at 48 percent.

Total assets at the end of last year stood at P1.5 trillion, making Chinabank "still the fourth largest among privately owned domestic banks.

Total equity amounted to P150 billion, up 12 percent from 2022.

The bank's key capital ratios — common equity tier 1 at 15.3 percent and capital adequacy at 16.1 percent — also remained above minimum regulatory requirements, it said.

Chinabank shares on Tuesday closed up 0.73 percent at P34.35 each while the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index slipped by 0.45 percent.


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