Philippines' best domestic bank 2021: Metrobank
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, or Metrobank, is a firm to be reckoned with in the Philippines. Established in 1962, it is one of the nation’s foremost universal banks – and the winner this year of Asiamoney’s best domestic bank in the Philippines award.
Its diverse stable of businesses includes investment banking, thrift banking, leasing and financing, bancassurance, and credit cards. It provides the gamut of services to large domestic and multinational corporations, middle-market companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, high net worth individuals and retail segment players.
Metrobank’s priorities under president Fabian Dee are an intriguing reflection of the Philippine economy’s weak spots – and areas of vast potential.
Even before the pandemic hit, financial institutions looked for ways to pull the unbanked into the system. But the economic setbacks brought by Covid-19 led to the nation’s leading institutions stepping forward to meet the moment.
In Metrobank’s case, that means using digital technology to increase interactions with clients. It did so by raising its Metrobank Online game. The Metrobank Business Online Solutions, or MBOS, platform was also upgraded. The bank managed to migrate roughly 87% of more than 17,000 corporate accounts to MBOS.
The retail customer penetration rate, meanwhile, rose by five percentage points in 2020 to 24%. Now, 85% of financial transactions go through electronic channels. Metrobank mobile app’s cash pick-up service also surged in popularity among customers engaging in fund transfers.
That wasn’t all. Metrobank’s special account-opening campaign to attract online customers met with great success. The ramp-up of online transactions was complemented with a fraud awareness campaign to help protect customers. This customer-centric approach is meant to show that Metrobank has its customers’ interests at heart in good and bad times.
With all these efforts, Metrobank achieved a solid performance during the pandemic.
It generated a 26% increase in pre-provisioning profits to $1.2 billion in 2020. This enabled the bank to position itself for any troubles to come, quadrupling provisions to $806 million. Its proactive provisioning raised non-performing-loan cover to 163% in 2020, from 103% in 2019, ensuring it is well prepared to withstand any asset quality pressures in future.
Metrobank also seized the opportunity to raise $691 million of peso-denominated and dollar bonds. The hefty order book for both offerings showed strong investor confidence in the bank. Metrobank was able to tap long-term offshore funding, diversify its funding sources and finance its maturing short-term borrowings.