Surviving through the economic backlash brought
about by the COVID-19 pandemic is a feat in itself. By doing the spadework and
adjusting to the demands of a changed world, many financial institutions
continue to grapple with the ongoing pandemic. However, it takes a special kind
of fortitude to not just survive, but to thrive and grow in these unprecedented
The Asiamoney Best Bank Awards 2021 recognized
this fortitude in Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank), and fittingly
hailed them as the “Best Domestic Bank in the Philippines”.
“Metrobank is a firm to be reckoned with in the
Philippines,” said Asiamoney Editor Rashmi Kumar. “What stands out with
Metrobank is its sheer resilience during tough times, including all the
uncertainty caused by the pandemic over the past eighteen months,” she added.
Kumar further pointed out Metrobank’s status as
one of the country’s foremost universal banks, offering a diverse stable of
business and products for a range of clients while showing strong growth year
Metrobank credited its resilience to the lessons
they learned from surviving the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, a similar event
that also left the economic backdrop in shambles. “Drawing from our experience
back then, our mantra this time is to be proactive at the onset of a crisis so
we can quickly get our feet back on the ground,” said Metrobank President
Fabian S. Dee. The Bank pursued a prudent risk management strategy, ensured
strong capital levels, and kept a healthy balance sheet with best-in-class
asset quality metrics.
Dee further enumerated some of the bank’s key
strategies that made them emerge and grow amid an economic downturn. “True to
our meaningful banking promise, we first focused on what, or who, meant the
most to us: the customers,” he beamed.
At the first signs of a possible economic
downturn, the Bank immediately reached out to their clients, providing them
with alternative access to banking services through digital technology,
evaluating and providing advice to manage their financial health and conducting
several webinars including a fraud awareness campaign to help protect
Metrobank pursued a prudent and proactive
approach in managing its portfolio to protect asset quality, and sustain long
term profitability and capital strength.
Despite an economic downturn, the Bank managed
to grow its low cost current and savings accounts (CASA) grew 22% to PhP1.3
trillion, reflecting the Bank’s solid deposit franchise and customer confidence
in the Bank.
The bank also generated a 26% increase in pre-provisioning profits to PhP61.8 billion in 2020. This enabled the Bank to set aside PhP40.8 billion in provisions, thus creating a solid buffer against potential risks from the pandemic. Metrobank’s proactive provisioning raised non-performing loan (NPL) cover to 163% from 103% in 2019, strengthening the Bank’s capacity to withstand asset quality pressures.
Metrobank believes its prudent approach in 2020
paved the way for a strong start this year, with net income growing 28% to
PhP11.7 billion in the first half of 2021. Stable asset quality and superior
capital ratios give the Bank a strong position to take on opportunities ahead.
The Bank also remains committed to the
community. Through the combined efforts of Metrobank Foundation and GT
Foundation, Metrobank offered support for the needy and mobilized funds towards
various pandemic aid programs.
“We are honored and humbled to be recognized as
the Best Domestic Bank in the Philippines. It is indeed a great gift for us as
we celebrate our 59th Anniversary,” Dee said. “We are merely doing what is
second-nature to us: to provide meaningful services to our customers. Through
their trust, even in the face of a financial crisis, we are motivated to always
do what is best for all our stakeholders,” Dee concluded.
The Asiamoney Best Bank Awards 2021 is an annual
ceremony that recognizes which banks in each market excel across a range of categories.
Metrobank is one of
the strongest and well-capitalized banks in the country. The Bank believes that
its robust capital position and balance sheet strength will provide ample
support as it navigates through these uncertain times. Capital ratios are among
the highest in the industry, with total CAR at 20.4% and Common Equity Tier 1
(CET1) ratio at 19.5%. Consolidated assets stood at P2.5 trillion at the end of
June 2021, making Metrobank the country's second largest private universal