EastWest set to open 21 branches

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Sunday, June 8, 2014


EASTWEST Banking Corp., the banking arm of the Filinvest group, is adding 21 new branches across the country to reach its goal of having 400 total branches by the end of 2014.

The bank currently has 379 branches.

EastWest Bank president and chief executive officer Antonio Moncupa Jr. said the bank has been on an aggressive three-year branch expansion program, which ends this year.

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After reaching 400 by the end of the year, they plan to slow down the growth of bank expansion to concentrate on other important items. He, however, declined to disclose the sites of the new branches, saying only that these banks will be located in emerging cities.

The bank held an appreciation night for its clients in Cebu last Friday at the Waterfront Cebu Hotel and Casino.

Asked about the sector’s performance in the first half this year, Moncupa said that banking has remained sound and resilient and is growing consistently with the positive economic developments in the country.

In the first quarter of 2014, EastWest Bank reported a 38 percent decline in its net income to P455.7 million, due to a P756-million drop in trading income.

“The bank was not spared by the industry-wide decline in trading gains as interest rates started to move higher and volatility increased in both fixed income and currency markets,” said the bank’s disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Moncupa said trading this year is subdued compared to last year. But he noted that the bank gained solid growth in terms of its core business, particularly in consumer loans and deposit business. He said the bank has the highest proportion of consumer loans among universal banks, with 52 percent of its loan portfolio in consumer loans.

“The growth in this segment allowed us to expand aggressively in the past years,” said Moncupa. The bank added 178 branches in 2012 and 2013.

The bank’s net interest income in the first quarter increased by 23.7 percent to P2.3 billion, after its loans grew by 37.1 percent to P102.0 billion. Both corporate and consumer lending businesses posted double-digit growth of 47.8 percent and 28.4 percent, respectively.

Total deposits stood at P122.9 billion by end-March, growing 41.8 percent year-on-year.

To cope with the competition in the banking industry, Moncupa said the bank will strengthen its online presence as internet banking has become popular in reaching more clients and making bank products readily available.

“We will launch a mobile banking application before the end of the year,” he said, adding they will continue to make necessary investments to make operations efficient and offer a better banking experience to consumers.

EastWest currently has 18 branches located in Cebu.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 09, 2014.

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