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UnionBank Q1 net profit rises 78% amid improving risk profile

Unionbank of the Philippines, Inc. said its net profit rose 78% year-on-year in the first quarter to P4.7 billion as the bank improved its risk profile with stronger capital buffers.

The bank posted a strong performance in terms of net revenue and non-interest income, UnionBank President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista said at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting Friday.

UnionBank said in a statement that return on equity rose to 18% from 11% a year earlier.

“Our strong financial performance in the first quarter puts us on track to achieve our 2021 targets. We’re also starting the year with strong capital ratios, better margins, and improving credit risk. Nonetheless, we shall continue to monitor developments from the recent reinstatement of (lockdowns) and adjust our business plans accordingly to achieve our financial targets and
protect our balance sheet,” Jose Emmanuel U. Hilado, chief financial officer and treasurer, said.

UnionBank’s net interest income rose 6% year-on-year to P7.2 billion.

Non-interest profit rose 163% to P7.1 billion following strong trading gains.

Net revenue rose 50% year-on-year to P14.3 billion. This total was up 39% from the preceding quarter.

Loans and receivables fell 12% year-on-year to P345 billion due to weak demand from corporate clients.

High-cost deposits fell 22% to P222.8 billion while low-cost CASA deposits rose 29%.

Assets hit P747.3 billion at the end of March, against P754.8 billion a year earlier.

Mr. Bautista said the bank saw an influx of new clients using its digital products and services, with 470,000 new customers in the first three months of the year.

Mobile application users are currently ato2.4 million, with digital transaction volume averaging six million per month.

UnionBank was also among the top banks in terms of PESONet and InstaPay transactions, according to Mr. Bautista.

“Union Bank is going full throttle in its digital transformation strategy. We have decided to compress our five-year plan into two years by accelerating the onboarding digitally for new customers,” Mr. Bautista said.

“We will continue to use data science and Artificial Intelligence to churn out best offers and develop alternative scoring models. To support our aspiration to hyperscale, we are also beefing up our backend infrastructure. Our cloud transformation program now aims to migrate 100% of our applications to a hybrid public cloud system to gain scalability (and) increase efficiency,” he added.

UnionBank shares rose 10 centavos or 0.14% to P71.70 on Friday — Beatrice M. Laforga

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