PHL financial system resources expand by 9% as of end-March

THE COMBINED RESOURCES of the Philippine financial system rose to P31.672 trillion as of end-March, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

Preliminary data from the central bank showed resources of banks and nonbank financial institutions increased by 9% at end-March from the P29.038 trillion in the same period a year ago.

It also edged up by 2.2% from P31.003 trillion as of end-February.

The financial system’s resources include funds and assets such as deposits, capital, as well as bonds or debt securities.

BSP data showed banking resources jumped by 10.7% to P26.442 trillion as of end-March from P23.887 trillion a year earlier.

Broken down, total resources held by universal and commercial banks climbed by 10.6% P24.778 trillion from P22.397 trillion in 2023.

Resources of thrift banks stood at P1.116 trillion in end-March, up by 8.9% from P1.025 trillion.

Meanwhile, digital banks’ resources surged by 65.6% to P101 billion from P61 billion in the same year-ago period.

Rural and cooperative banks held P446 billion of total resources at end-December, higher by 10.4% from P404 billion a year earlier, based on the latest available data.

Meanwhile, the resources of nonbank financial institutions inched up by 1.5% to P5.23 trillion as of end-December from the P5.151 trillion recorded in the previous year.

Nonbank financial institutions include investment houses, finance companies, security dealers, pawnshops and lending companies.

Institutions such as nonstock savings and loan associations, credit card companies, private insurance firms, the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System are also considered nonbanks.

“The continued faster growth in banks’ loans, deposits, and capital due to continued growth in earnings largely contributed to the latest growth in the total resources of the financial system,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Separate BSP data showed that the Philippine banking industry’s net profit rose by 2.95% to P92.107 billion at end-March from P89.47 billion a year prior.

Meanwhile, the banking system’s combined assets jumped by 10.8% to P25.65 trillion as of March from P23.15 trillion.

Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc., said that the rise in total resources was also driven by gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

“I would like to think that this is relative to GDP growth. If GDP rises, this data has a higher likelihood to rise,” he said in a Viber message.

The Philippine economy grew by 5.7% in the first quarter, better than the 5.5% in the preceding three-month period but slower than the 6.4% expansion logged in the same quarter in 2023.

The country’s first-quarter growth was about the same as Vietnam’s 5.6% and ahead of China (5.3%), Indonesia (5.1%) and Malaysia (3.9%).

The government is targeting 6-7% GDP growth this year. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson