Asia United Bank (AUB) is expecting its net income to return to the pre-pandemic level of P4 billion this year, 30 percent or P1 billion higher than in 2020.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, AUB President Manuel A. Gomez said “2021 will definitely be a better year than 2020, as we expect the vaccine rollouts by the government and the private sector to improve consumer confidence and lead to increased economic activity.”

He added that, “These, in turn, will boost our commercial and consumer lending business, which remain stable.”

With the expected pickup in lending activity, the Bank said it is ready to set aside appropriate loan loss provisions in 2021 as required. It has already allocated P638 million in loan loss provisions in the first quarter of 2021.

While 2020 was a challenging year for many businesses across the globe, AUB and its four subsidiaries managed to generate P3 billion in net income in 2020.

At the bank’s annual stockholders meeting on June 25, Gomez said AUB has managed to stay competitive against industry peers despite the pandemic.

Based on the consolidated figures of the top 10 universal banks, AUB said it ranked high on all measures of profitability, financial strength, and operational efficiency: second in net interest margin, fourth in return on equity, fourth in return on assets, third in capital adequacy ratio, first in cost-income ratio, 1st in deposit growth, and first in total assets growth.

Growing customer acceptance of its digital channels, alongside rationalization of its physical banking operations, led to lower operating cost and increased efficiency and productivity.

As of end-December 2020, AUB has a network of 270 branches nationwide, including 48 branches of its 4 subsidiaries.

“This is also solid proof that our steady investment in our digital channels has been paying off,” Gomez said.

Growing reliance on digitalization helped AUB reduce its operating expenses, which minimally increased by 3 percent, and achieve better cost-to-income ratio of 38.4 percent in 2020.

For 2021, the Bank plans to spend P160 million for its planned digitalization initiatives.

Source: Manila Bulletin (