Lucio Co's Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) grew its income by 16.3 percent to P1.9 billion in 2023 from P1.6 billion a year earlier, mainly due to higher operating income from better trading performance.

In its annual report disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the bank reported a 41.6-percent increase in interest income to P7.92 billion from P5.59 billion due to higher asset yields and growth in both loan and securities portfolio.

However, PBCom said interest expense rose in 2023 due to the higher costs of funds amid the high interest rate environment. This has caused a 2.1 percent decline in net interest income, which stood at P4.8 billion in 2023 from P4.7 billion in 2022.

Its net interest margin went down to 3.96 percent in 2023 from 4.8 percent last year.

The bank's asset base climbed by 18.1 percent to P148 billion last year from P125 billion a year ago, making it the 18th largest lending in the Philippines based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as of end-December.

PBCom's loan book also registered a growth of 19.3 percent to P76.9 billion, while investment securities jumped by 28 percent to P27.8 billion.

Amid the steady increase in lending, PBCom's non-performing loan (NPL) ratio improved to 2.4 percent last year from 3.23 percent in 2022.

'PBCom's liquidity position continued to remain stable as the bank comfortably met all its financial obligations and loan commitments, and likewise has fully complied with the regulatory reserve requirements on continuing basis at an optimum funding mix during the course of the year,' the bank said.

Total liabilities increased by 18.8 percent to P129.8 billion in 2023 from last year's P109.3 billion. This resulted mostly from the P17.3 billion increase in deposit liabilities amid higher time deposits.

The strong year-end performance improved the bank's capital base by 13.4 percent to P17.7 billion, while capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was at 16.6 percent.

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