MANILA - Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co said Monday its net income declined in the first half of 2020 but it continues to build reserves as the business "remains strong" despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Net income for the first half reached P9.1 billion, down 30 percent from last year's P13 billion due to proactive measures "to secure the bank from further economic slowdown" due to COVID-19, Metrobank told the stock exchange.
It also increased loan provisions for potential risks to P22.8 billion, it said. Pre-provision operating profit grew 61 percent while the balance sheet is solid with good deposit levels, said Metrobank president Fabian Dee.
“Our core business remains strong...We have faced crisis events in the past, and while the current pandemic is unprecedented, our substantial capital position combined with prudent strategic actions will enable us to weather forthcoming challenges,” Dee said.
“Consistent with our conservative business strategy, we are very mindful of future risks that will likely impact the entire banking industry, so we are doing an early build-up of larger provisions to ensure our readiness. We are taking all the necessary steps as we continue to focus on supporting our clients and the recovery of the overall economy,” he added.
Its non-performing loans cover rose to 188 percent due to increased provisions, "which underscores the strategy of beefing up reserves early in anticipation of future risks," the lender said.
Deposit base grew 5 percent to P1.7 trillion, the bank said.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno cut interest rates to 2.25 percent to help banks and the economy. The country has a good fiscal standing and sound banking system to survive the pandemic, officials earlier said.