News Highlights

Chairperson's Statement

2020 has been a year of survival for all of us, as a result of the harsh impact and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Philippine economy even slipped into recession, with a full-year gross domestic product (GDP) of -9.6%. The small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as the multinational companies (MNCs), were caught flat-footed. Many of them are suffering while some were forced to shut down their business operations. Banks are not spared too, as the cash-flow pressures experienced by their individual clients have resulted in reduced economic activities, impaired repayment capacity, decreased loan demands, and breached loan agreements. All of these are on top of the pre-existing challenges for banks brought about by the low interest rates and stiff competition.

  We, at FICOBank, have also felt the inevitable shocks and inescapable changes caused by the pandemic crisis. But, be that as it may, our Bank was able to adapt to the extremely challenging situation. Albeit the predicaments in the business landscape, it remained resilient and maintained its market position, which eventually enabled it to deliver performance for its shareholders. And I, as Chairperson of the Board, can proudly say that our Bank had once again successfully performed during the year 2020.

  In 2020, the theme—“Breaking the Barriers in FICOBanking”—had resounded across the entire organization, as each member of the FICOBank family clearly understands of what we are trying to achieve as a community bank. Our business purpose, distinct character and industry standing that we have been enriching through the years are now truly outgrown within each one of us—our FICOBanking spirit.

  In living our culture of shared values, we captured the hearts and minds of our employees to work hand-in-hand for one shared purpose, and that is, to tenaciously engage in sustaining and growing our business and making banking more meaningful for our clients, especially this time of crisis. Our employees work with passion and even go extra mile to deliver continuing banking services to our clientele, despite limited workforce and banking hours, along with fear of possible contagion.

  As COVID-19 restrictions have affected our movements and planned banking network expansion, we have focused our present 37 operating units—with strategic locations in Regions I-II-III and CAR—to continuously gain market advantage in terms of bank accessibility by our target markets. In doing so, we maintained our five-day banking services to cater the financial needs of our visiting clients, and have exploited the available opportunities to engage with our clients more actively and responsively.

  Taking the lead role in setting the “tone at the top”, we see to it that all our actions and decisions in the Board, together with the Senior Management, are always directed toward sustaining the business resiliency and financial stability of our Bank. In 2020, we remained vigilant on both internal and external factors that might significantly affect our business operations. To cope with the difficulties confronted by our Bank, we anchored on our organizational culture that places a high priority on business continuity.

  Throughout the year, we have endeavored to strengthen our business resiliency against the pressing threat and effects of the pandemic. We have crafted and adopted precautionary measures, response mechanisms and contingency plans against COVID-19 to ensure primarily the health and safety of our employees and customers, while delivering continued financial services to the general public. We have also conducted series of business continuity stress testing and simulation activities, and made sure that all necessary resources to implement and support our business continuity management approach are adequate. With these tasks, our Board was able to carefully assess and utilize the capability of our Bank to re-evaluate and undertake its business strategies in extra-challenging business and regulatory environments.

  As we keep our business on track amid pandemic, we have to embrace changes as a response and closely track the performance of our Bank, particularly on the key result areas.

  Just like the other banks, our lending operation was greatly affected during the year. To protect the quality of our existing loan portfolio, we’ve settled on tempering our credit risk exposure by tightening some of our lending policies and be more stringent in selecting our borrowers. However, despite keeping our united efforts to generate accounts and retain existing ones, we were unable to maintain our loan portfolio level at year-end. Hence, as of end-December 2020, our Bank only registered a loan portfolio of Php3.00 billion, which is lower by 8.03% than that of last year’s level.

  On a positive note, our deposit-taking operation went well in 2020. In spite of uncertainties this time of pandemic, the financial consumers continued to entrust their untapped savings to our Bank. And as of 31 December 2020, the total outstanding deposits of our Bank soared to Php2.95-billion mark, higher by 11.86% from that of Php2.64 billion recorded a year ago.

  During the year, our Bank had adopted the twin laws enacted by the Philippine Congress to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country—the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan Act) and Bayanihan to Recover as One (BARO) Act—particularly on providing reliefs to borrowers by extending the repayment period of their respective loans without incurring penalties, additional interest on interests and other charges. In effect, majority of our loan accounts were granted with extension of maturities and condonation of penalties. Nevertheless, for the year that has just ended, we were still able to register a record-high net income of Php145.92 million.

  Owing to the strength and success of our business operations for over 44 years now, our Bank was able to build up its strong capital base. In 2020, FICOBank remained to be well-capitalized, with adequate funds to support its risk-taking business activities. From last year’s Php1.08-billion level, our Bank’s net worth climbed to Php1.21-billion mark. It rose by Php130.66 million or 12.12%.

  Our Bank’s more than four decades of financial strength and market dominance have enabled us to provide for the financial needs of our clients through thick and thin, and today is no different. As it is proven to be resilient in any disruptive situations, our Bank—with its identity as ang bangkong pinagtibay ng panahon—will keep on breaking the barriers in its banking business. We will continue leveraging on our new strengths and use them as differentiators to serve better, especially in these thriving times. With the lofty purpose of our Bank to be a vital catalyst for economic ascendancy, we are driven more than ever in providing opportunities to contribute for the improvement of well-being of our customers and cooperators, as well as their respective families and localities.

  In closing, on behalf of the Bank and on a personal note, I convey my sincerest gratitude to all our stakeholders—clients, business partners, funders, shareholders and employees—for continuing on this journey with us. Without your trust and support, the success of FICOBank in 2020 would not be possible.

 

 

 

 

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