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RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Philippines
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UnionBank's 5-month net income up by 44%

The net income of the UnionBank of the Philippines rose to US$28.97 million during the January-May period, or a 44 percent growth from US$20 million a year ago.The bank disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange that its interest income expanded by 78 percent or almost US$60 million on the back of more robust loan portfolio and healthy margins. Interest income from trading and investment securities improved 33 percent to US$35.178 million.Its total interest expense also rose by 81 percent to US$51.73 million due to a ballooning deposit volume while net interest income climbed by 18 percent to US$53.8 million. Operating income for the first five months surged 53 percent to US$33.1 million from US$20.69 million in the same period last year, supported largely by the 243-percent upswing in trading and foreign exchange gains.Operating expense increased at a slower pace of 21 percent to US$47.59 million as UnionBank sustained its commitment to cost discipline and efficiency by pursuing process improvement initiatives and developing technologically-advanced solutions.The bank said its asset base have stood at US$4.399 billion as of May 2009, 4 percent higher than the US$4.219 billion at the end of 2008. Deposit levels stayed at US$3.493 billion as of May from US$3.339 billion at end of 2008, while capital funds stood at US$598 million P28.9 billion at end of May, up from US$560.7 million at the end of last year."UnionBank’s year-to-date performance in 2009 is a testament to the success of our twin strategy of strengthening our core business towards a more sustainable income stream while remaining on guard for trading opportunities amid the prevailing market volatility," said UnionBank chairman and chief executive officer Justo Ortiz.

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