MANILA, January 26, 2005 (STAR) By Ted P. Torres  - The Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) posted an unaudited net income of P485.5 million in 2004, or roughly 20 percent better than the P403.6 million the year before.

The thrift and savings bank of the Metrobank Group recorded a positive net income of P302 million in 2002. Earlier, it registered a whooping 72.8-percent growth in its net income, or from P174.7 million in the whole of 2001 to P302 million last year. In 2000, it was recorded at P120 million.

Total loan portfolio expanded by 21 percent to P24.5 billion while deposits increasing by 45 percent to P40.2B.

Total resources stood at P46 billion, up by P12 billion or 36 percent from 2003 while total capital was reported at P4.6 billion.

Earnings per share is at P2.70 and return on equity (ROE) improved to 11.4 percent, from 9.8 percent in 2003.

The bank remains the country’s second largest savings bank in terms of assets.

PSBank also managed to grow its balance sheet without sacrificing asset quality.

Non-performing loan (NPL) ratio to total loan portfolio was contained at 6.1 percent, better than the thrift bank industry average ratio of 11.6 percent.

Solid earnings came mostly from the bank’s consumer banking business, investments and acquired assets.

PSBank president Pascual M. Garcia III said the bank will continue with the expansion of its branch network, launch new products, and introduce new technology applications to improve products and delivery of services to clients.

It helped that mother unit, the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) provided technological and infrastructure support.

Last year, Metrobank purchased over 18 million shares of PSBank, thus increasing its stock holdings of the bank from 64 percent to 74.

"2004 was a very good year for PSBank as we demonstrated our ability to grow our business organically by acquiring market share from other bank competitors.

Our tracking indicators show notable improvements in our market penetration across all major product groups be they in deposits or loans.

We took the opportunity provided by a strong growth in our core business to invest P250 million in new branches and technology.

This will allow us to serve new communities and be more competitive in 2005," Garcia added.

Last year, the bank opened 29 branches increasing its total nationwide network to 139.

Its automatic teller machines (ATMs) now number 94, with 53 installed in 2004.

In 2003, it rolled out an integrated loan processing system that interfaced with its customer database and a credit scoring system.

These developments allowed PSBank to boost the delivery of its service and to improve operational quality and risk management.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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