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Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd – Non-interest Income Driving Growth

Publish date: Fri, 01 Mar 2024, 10:44 AM
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  • 4Q23 earnings of S$1.62bn met our estimates. It came from higher fee income and stable NII. FY23 PATMI was 100% of our FY23e forecast. 4Q23 DPS was up 5% YoY to 42 cents. FY23 dividend rose 21% YoY to 82 cents, with the dividend payout ratio stable at 53%. It was below our expectations.
  • NII grew 3% YoY despite NIM dipping 2bps YoY to 2.29% and flat loan growth. Total non-interest income rose 25% YoY as higher fee income and trading were offset by lower insurance income. Allowances fell 40% due to lower GPs and SPs as credit costs improved 14bps YoY to 21bps.
  • Maintain BUY with an unchanged target price of S$14.96. We lower FY24e earnings by 6%. We lower our NII estimates from softer NIMs and increase allowance estimates, offset by higher fees and other non-interest income. We assume 1.29x FY22e P/BV and ROE estimate of 12.8% in our GGM valuation. We expect FY24e earnings to grow from single-digit fee income recovery and stabilised provisions. NII will remain flattish as stable loan growth from rate cuts expected in 2H24 will be offset by moderating We like OCBC due to attractive valuations and a dividend yield of 6.7%, buffered by a well-capitalised 15.9% CET 1, and non-interest income growth from recent acquisitions.



The Positives

+ Net interest income grew 3% YoY. NII growth was led by a 4% increase in average assets, which was offset by NIM moderating by 2bps YoY to 2.29% and stable loan growth. NIM moderation was mainly from higher funding costs, which offset the increase in asset yields. OCBC has provided FY24e guidance for NIM to be in the range of 2.20% to 2.25%, with FY23 exit NIM currently at 2.26%.                     

+ Fee income continues to grow. Fee income rose 15% YoY to S$460mn. This was due to the broad-based growth in wealth management fees from increased customer activities, higher credit card fees, and loan and trade-related fees. Furthermore, the Group’s FY23 wealth management income grew 26% YoY to S$4.3bn and contributed 32% to the Group’s total income FY23 (FY22: 30%). OCBC’s wealth management AUM was 2% higher YoY at S$263bn driven by continued net new money inflows.

+ Allowances are down 40% YoY, and credit costs are at 21bps. Total allowances fell 40% YoY to S$187mn as SPs fell to S$5mn (4Q22: S$101mn) and GPs dipped to S$182mn (4Q22: S$213mn). Resultantly, total credit costs improved by 14bps YoY to 21bps. Total NPAs were down 16% YoY to S$2.9bn as new NPA formation fell 78% YoY to S$54mn, and the NPL ratio improved by 20bps YoY to 1.0%. Full-year FY23 credit costs were higher at 20bps (FY22: 16bps) from both impaired and non-impaired assets. OCBC has guided for FY24e credit costs to be stable and come in between 20 to 25bps.



The Negatives

– Insurance income down 12% YoY. Insurance income fell 12% YoY to S$88mn, driven by higher claims in Singapore and Malaysia, partially offset by higher contributions from the Singapore life business arising from better investment performance. FY23 total weighted new sales fell 12% YoY to S$1.66bn, as sales in Singapore declined, while new business embedded value (NBEV) declined 11% YoY to S$762mn. Margins saw a slight increase due to a more favorable product mix. Nonetheless, FY23 profit contribution from insurance rose 30% YoY to S$636mn, led by improved investment income.

– Expenses creep up. Operating expenses rose 19% YoY to S$1.31bn, mainly from higher staff costs and other operating expenses. The rise in staff costs was led by annual salary adjustments, headcount growth, and one-off support to help junior employees cope with rising cost-of-living concerns. Resultantly, the 4Q23 cost-to-income ratio (CIR) rose 3.7% points YoY to 40%. Nonetheless, full-year FY23 CIR improved by 4.2% points YoY to 38.7% as the rise in income outpaced the rise in expenses.

– CASA ratio continues to dip. The Current Account Savings Accounts (CASA) ratio fell 3.1% points YoY to 48.7% due to the high-interest rate environment and a continued move towards fixed deposits (FD). Nonetheless, total customer deposits grew 4% YoY to S$364bn, underpinned by strong growth in FDs. The Group’s funding composition remained stable with customer deposits comprising 81% of total funding.

Source: Phillip Capital Research - 1 Mar 2024

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