RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Philippines

Capital markets, interests push UnionBank income up 83%

UnionBank credits its treasury business and interest earnings for the 83 percent surge in its first half income. The bank registered a profit of US$45.5 million from US$24.82 million in the same period last year.

Benefiting from opportunities in the capital markets, the bank's securities and foreign exchange trading gains soared to a hefty level of US$31 million in the first six months of the year from only US$4.76 million in the comparable period in 2008.

Gross interest revenues jumped by 39 percent to US$126 million during the period from US$91 million last year, bolstered by the 67 percent expansion in interest earnings from loans and receivables to US$72.3 million and the 37 percent improvement in interest income from investment securities to US$43.4 million. Even as total interest expense rose by 74 percent to US$59.98 million due to a ballooning deposit volume, net interest income climbed by 17 percent to US$66.1 million.

Other income for the first half of the year more than doubled, soaring by 108 percent to US$49.6 million from US$24.8 million the same period last year, supported primarily by the recovery in net trading gains. Other expenses increased at a slower pace of 18 percent to US$57.9 million from US$49.6 million in the same period last year, as the bank sustained its commitment to cost discipline and efficiency through technological competitiveness and process streamlining.

UnionBank's asset base stood at US$4.5 billion as of June 2009, up by 7 percent from US$4.2 billion in end-2008. Deposit level stayed strong at US$3.59 billion as of June from US$3.3 billion in end 2008. Capital funds stood at US$597 million at end-June, up from US$558.4 million at the end of last year.

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