Banks ended 2021 with a bang as credit growth picked up for the fifth straight month, expanding by a faster rate of 4.6 percent in December from four percent in November.
Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed loans disbursed by universal and commercial banks amounted to P9.6 trillion last year from P9.18 trillion in 2020.
“Credit activity continued to improve due to a more favorable economic outlook from businesses and households amid the sustained rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the easing of community restrictions during the month,” the BSP said.
Data showed outstanding loans for production activities grew at a faster rate of 5.9 percent to P8.51 trillion, led by lending to the real estate sector that increased by 9.1 percent to P1.93 trillion for a 20.1 percent share.
Loans released to the wholesale and retail trade as well as repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles expanded by 0.8 percent to P1.12 trillion for a share of 11.7 percent while those of the manufacturing sector accelerated by 9.4 percent to P1.09 trillion.
On the other hand, lending to consumers shrank at a slower pace of 5.7 percent to P823.52 billion for a share of 8.6 percent.
This as motor vehicle loans declined by 17.2 percent to P294.72 billion, while salary-based general purpose consumption loans shrank by 8.8 percent to P74.16 billion. This erased the 4.7 percent rise in credit card loans to P437.09 billion.
Loans released by big banks have been accelerating since August last year after slumping eight straight months between December 2020 and July 2021.