MANILA -- Executives of Asia United Bank (AUB) are still optimistic with the Philippine economy despite the risks and challenges in both domestic and global markets.
During its stockholders’ meeting Friday, AUB President Manuel Gomez cited that increasing interest rates and inflation, slowing global economy, normalization of policy in advanced economies like the United States and Europe, as well as threats of trade war, pose challenges and volatility in the local financial market.
"Amid these uncertainties, we are optimistic the domestic economy stay robust, driven by healthy consumption and the government’s spending on infrastructure fuelling the growth," said Gomez.
For AUB Executive Vice President and Head of Treasury Antonio Agcaoili Jr., he said the back-to-back policy interest rate hikes made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in May and June is “no big threat to the economy.”
“We don’t feel the impact to be tremendous in the economy… We feel that this is no big threat to the economy. We think the GDP (gross domestic product) forecast given by the central bank is still within 6.8 to 7 percent (and) is still pretty much achievable, attainable,” Agcaoili said.
Gomez noted that AUB, this year, is banking on sustained lending growth, branch expansion, increased low-cost funding sources, strengthening its manpower training and development, and intensifying its information technology collaboration.
He added that the bank is also increasing its expenditures for this year by 23 percent, higher than the 13-percent growth in spending for 2017.
AUB likewise plans to open 15 new branches this year, particularly strengthening its presence outside Metro Manila. Four branches will be located in Mindanao, three in Visayas, two in northern Luzon, and two in southern Luzon. Three new branches will be launched in the National Capital Region, as well.
AUB also partnered with Alipay, following its successful tie-up with WeChat Pay, eyeing to tap millions of Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines.
payments through mobile platforms, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, and the company would like to give Chinese tourists
in the Philippines the same experience through AUB’s partnership with these two digital payment platforms. (PNA)