This year, we met the 20 January 2017 deadline imposed by the BSP on the Check Truncation project on the adoption of the clearing of checks via electronic presentment. We were one of only 37 banks that were considered at that time by the Philippine Clearing House Corporation as fully CICS compliant. We also met another deadline imposed by BSP to all banks to migrate their ATM cards from the current magnetic chip to micro-chip technology by 2018 June 30. We are currently near 100 percent in the issuance of new ATM cards to our clients.

In line with our strategy in late 2016 to venture into consumer financing, specifically automobile loans, we aggressively pursued that move and booked P181.8 million in auto loans during the year, with outstanding balance of P168.3 million by year end 2017.

 

The full impact of the first stage of the tax reform package will be felt towards the end of the first semester of 2018, which will drive inflation upward in the succeeding months. The remaining three packages of tax reforms will be submitted to Congress within the year. The Philippine economy is expected to expand 6.7 percent this year, matching last year's performance. Inflation will likely reach its peak towards the end of the first semester which may force the BSP to raise policy rates. The inflation rate is expected to settle above four percent this year due to higher oil prices, a weaker peso and new taxes. Consequently, interest rates will move up.

The year 2018 will again be a challenging one for the Bank. However, with the guidance and support of our stockholders, the dedication of our management team and continued support of our clients, we are confident that 2018 will be another successful year for the Bank.

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