Asia United Bank (AUB) plans to expand consumer banking with additional branches and mobile services to ride on the country’s projected three-year economic growth.
AUB plans to set up 30 branches a year to offer more consumer products, including real estate, salary, auto and pension loans to individual clients. At present, it has 239 branches, 112 of which are in Metro Manila, and 127 in the provinces.
“Our consumer banking grew to P14 billion today from P8 billion two years ago. It accounts for 14 percent of our assets, but we plan to increase that to 30 percent while we want to sustain our 70-percent corporate loans,” AUB President Abraham T. Co added.
The universal lender expects the country’s national income to grow by at least 7 percent in the next three years, or higher than the recorded economic performances in the previous years. It said such growth will drive payments and savings.
“I think the business will be good on the assumption that the economy is to grow. The Philippine GDP reached 6.8 percent last year, which is the highest in three years, and inflation remained stable at 1.8 percent,” Co added.
Co also sees more small and medium enterprises to emerge as the public prepare for the proposed tax-reform package by the Department of Finance (DOF). He said this can prod individuals to manage their finances well to become good candidates for credit.
“The tax reform will encourage the customers to be more open about their finances, so they can show how they have performed in their finances as a means to get easier credit. Most of the businesses here are small, because they do not want to be open. But if you are willing to pay your taxes because you feel they are now more equitable, then that will enable the industry to grow,” Co said.
The tax-reform package aims to reduce personal-income tax in proportional rates among the income classes. The DOF previously said the package will exempt individuals who earn P21,000 and below from paying taxes. However, the package requires additional tax on automobile and certain consumer goods, such as soft drinks and alcohol.
Aside from its branch expansion, AUB plans to promote mobile services to younger consumers.
“We have mobile banking, but not that extensive because most of our customers are businesses. But for consumer banking, we will go out of our comfort zone to reach people who use mobile phones, or nonbusiness clients,” Co added.