EastWest profit down 15% on slow lending recovery

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EastWest Bank (EW), headed by Gotianun, said 2021 profits fell more than 15% to 4.5 billion pesos as business slowed during the pandemic, although it stressed that the economic outlook were improving and that it was ready to exceed the setting of high loss provisions against bad debts.

The company said in a statement that profitability was impacted by lower lending levels, credit card rate caps and normalized trading gains. Revenue also fell 19% to 27 billion pesos.

Antonio Moncupa Jr., chief executive of EW, expressed optimism about the business outlook for 2022 despite declining earnings last year. “The good news is that our balance sheet is much more resilient in terms of liquidity and capital adequacy. The challenge is that we need to grow to take advantage of the bank’s capabilities,” Moncupa said.

“We hope that the pandemic and the situation in Ukraine will clear up and that we can resume work on the plan to double the death toll in the next five years,” he added.

Jacqueline Fernandez, EW’s chief loan officer, said bad debt losses were “largely explained and we expect lower loan loss provisions on the existing portfolio in 2022.” Last year.

“The pandemic has hit profitability pretty hard,” Fernandez said.

“We believe we are largely done with the high loan loss provisions and now that the light at the end of this long pandemic tunnel is finally in sight, we look forward to making up the lost ground,” he said. she adds.

EW said it recorded a drop in net interest income of 21 billion pesos last year due to lower car, mortgage and personal loan volumes from pre-pandemic levels.

“The slow recovery in consumer lending in the sector has affected EW more due to its unique lending structure, where more than 70% of its loans are consumer loans,” the lender said.

—Miguel R. Camus

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