Debt Problem in Europe

A combination of factors that include the on-going political turmoil in the Middle East and North African (MENA) states, the natural disaster in Japan and the debt problem in Europe are seen to negatively affect remittance growth in 2011.

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) President Aurelio Montinola III, in a briefing after the bank’s stockholders meeting Thursday, said these external events have not yet impacted inflows from Filipinos abroad.

“At some point in time there would be a bit of plateauing. It will still grow but the growth is not as strong as it is in 2010,” he said but declined to give specific figures.

Money sent home by Filipinos abroad expanded by 8.2 percent in 2010 after it amounted to US$ 18.7 billion over year-ago’s US$ 17.3 billion.

Monetary officials earlier projected another eight percent growth for remittances this year but this target would be reviewed this month and in October during the regular review of central bank’s economic targets.

Meanwhile, Montinola expects a lending growth of 12 percent, return on equity of 15 percent and capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 14 percent for BPI this year.

Last year, the bank registered a P3.5 billion gains from securities trading but the BPI chief said they see a lower figure of this for 2011.

“But the lower trading gains this year would be offset by the loan growth,” he said.

BPI executives expect loans to power the bank’s business this year, thus, they focus more lending to the small and medium enterprises (SME), middle market and consumer.

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