MANILA, Aug. 19 (PNA) — Bucking the continuous decline in domestic interest rates and the squeeze on loan margins, publicly listed AUB (Asia United Bank) and its subsidiaries posted a net interest income of Php 2.2 billion in the first six months of the year, 17.3% higher than Php 1.9 billion a year ago, unaudited financial statement show.
Despite the continuous decline in interest rates, which has been squeezing banks’ lending margins, AUB posted a consolidated interest income from loans of Php 2.1 billion, up 45.8 percent from the first half of 2014.
Propelling the growth were commercial loans and consumer loans, which grew its year-on-year volume by over 50 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
The robust loan portfolio led to a 16.6 percent expansion in total assets to Php 131.4 billion as of end-June 2015.
“This is in line with the bank’s goal of having a stronger presence in the consumer loan segment through its branches and online delivery channels,” said AUB president Abraham T. Co.
Despite the increase in profit margin, the group’s net income slightly dipped by 3 percent to Php 852.8 million during the period, primarily due to AUB’s investment in opening up 29 more branches after June 30, 2014 and higher loan provisioning, which nudged up the bank’s total operating expenses by 27.6 percent to Php2.1 billion.
The bank’s total deposit base grew 21.4 percent to Php 100.7 billion, of which more than half were demand and savings accounts.
As of end-June, AUB has a consolidated network of 224 branches, of which 15 belong to its subsidiaries Cavite United Rural Bank and the Pampanga-based Rural Bank of Angeles.
In addition to growing its branch network to reach out to more customers nationwide, AUB is also aggressively addressing the digital divide among customers by coming up with innovation-driven services.
As early as 2007, the bank has pioneered Preferred Online Banking, which has features and capabilities that offer a richer and more secure online banking experience.
Preferred Online Banking allows for real-time fund transfer in any AUB account, as well as real-time viewing and printing of user’s daily transaction history, monthly statement of account (SOA), and images of issued and returned checks. These financial transactions include telegraphic transfers and bills payment, including Meralco utility payments.
Last year, AUB became the only bank in the Philippines to offer a Chinese version option in online banking in a bid to be more customer-friendly to a growing Chinese clientele.
Another first-of-its-kind feature of AUB’s Preferred Online Banking is its link with AUB’s Virtual Teller Kiosk (VTK), which automatically queues user transaction in any bank branch in the Philippines.
VTK eliminates the need for physical queuing and increases convenience with the next-generation iPad version. This feature offers greater accessibility that gives users “access online wherever, whenever.”
“We are confident that our investments in our people, products, and processes will transform AUB into becoming a formidable player in the Philippine banking arena,” said AUB Chief Transformation Officer Jacob Ng.(PNA)