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Bancolombia S.A. (NYSE:CIB) Q3 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

Bancolombia S.A. (NYSE:CIB) Q3 2022 Earnings Call Transcript November 16, 2022

Operator: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Bancolombia's Third Quarter 2022 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Ariel and I will be your operator for today's call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Following the prepared remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. Please note that this conference is being recorded. Please note that this conference call will include forward-looking statements including statements related to our future performance, capital position, credit-related expenses and credit losses. All forward-looking statements, whether made in this conference call in future filings, in press releases or verbally, address matters that involve risk and uncertainty. Consequently, there are factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in such statements, including changes in general economic and business conditions, changes in currency exchange rates and interest rates, introduction of competing products by other companies, lack of acceptance of new products or services by our targeted clients, changes in business strategy and various other factors that we describe in our reports filed with the SEC.

With us today is Mr. Juan Carlos Mora, Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Mauricio Rosillo, Chief Corporate Officer; Mr. Jose Humberto Acosta, Chief Financial Officer; Mr. Rodrigo Prieto, Chief Risk Officer; Mrs. Catalina Dilone , Investor Relations Director and Mr. Juan Pablo Espinosa, Chief Economist. I will now turn the call over to Mr. Juan Carlos Mora, Chief Executive Officer. Juan Carlos, you may begin.

Juan Carlos Mora: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Bancolombia's third quarter conference call. In this quarter, we reported COP 1.6 trillion of net income. We are having a responsible growth across all segments, increasing revenue and producing positive operating leverage. The asset quality metrics of the bank remains strong compelling and effective origination strategy. The countries in which we operate present a good performance, especially Columbia, which may grow at a rate of above 7% in 2022 and has contributed to the rapid expansion of the bank's portfolio during the year. In recent months, however, we have seen a change in the trend of credit demand, particularly in detail, driven by inflationary pressures and a high interest rates environment that is impacting the customer's payment capacity.


Liquidity continues to be one of our focus areas coupled with our capital structure and risk management. We hold a solid funding base that supports comfortably our needs to operate the business. We have increased the collection of deposits in the last year and also we have brought in the access to meet and long-term financing from multilaterals and international banks and complement funding structure. It is worth mentioning that this week ends the approval process by Congress of the tax reform that will allows the government to collect an additional COP 20 trillion to face its social expenditure program in 2023. This reform has a direct effect on financial institutions imposing a sore charge that increased the statutory tax rate from 35% to 40% from 2023 to 2027.

In general, due to reform has focused on a greater contribution from high income taxpayer as well as corporates from financial and energy sectors. Energy companies will have incremental tax associated with both oil and energy prices. An important subject to follow in the government agenda will be the minimum wage increase that will be key for 2023 inflation development. Currently, it is being discussed by stakeholders and it's based on the projected consumer price index, CPI growth above 12% for the end of the year. For the rest of the topics in the political agenda, we have not seen for your progress, we will be looking forward for new announcement through the end of the year. At this point, I want to turn the presentation to Juan Pablo Espinosa who will further elaborate on the performance of the Columbian economy.

Juan Pablo?

Juan Pablo Espinosa: Thank you, Juan Carlos. Now please go to Slide number 3 in the presentation. Let me start by saying that the Columbian economy has continued to perform better than initially expected. Based on the steel strong performance in the in the third quarter of the year, we anticipate that GDP growth of 7.8% in 2022 higher than our previous estimate than about the consensus forecast. This is due to the strength in private consumption and increase in terms of trade thanks to all and gold prices. In contrast for 2023, we foresee a sharp moderation of growth to our rate of 0.9% in the central scenario as aggregate demand, cool solve in a contest of higher interest rates, global deceleration and continued uncertainty, we anticipate that next year the best performance sectors will be public administration, agriculture, financial services, and utilities.

On the contrary, retail manufacturing, mining and construction are expected to contract. The main risks for economic activity next year are first a sharp tightening of financial conditions caused by recent distress in markets. Second, a pronounced deterioration of households purchasing power as a result of persistent inflation. Third, a deterioration of labor markets caused by economic deceleration and higher salaries. And fourth, the spillover effects of a major moderation of the global economy. On the front of interest rates and prices, we anticipate that reference rate will peak at the first quarter of 2023 to a level between 12% and 13%. This is consistent with an inflation closes at 12.5% in 2022 and remaining well above the central bank target range during 2023 and even in 2024.

Our point forecast for December, 2023 is 7.5%. The main reason behind this prospect is that core inflation will remain under pressure because of peso depreciation, the operation of indexation mechanisms and salaries revisions. Under this circumstances, we do not see a space for a quick change in the monetary policy cycle. Actually, we anticipate repo rate cuts by the second half of 2023 to 11% of 10% in December next year. This means that monetary policy will remain in contractual mode during the foreseeable future. Regarding the exchange rate, in our basis scenario, we forecast on average USB corporate of 49.15 for 2023 offer up from 42.50 in 2022. This means that the factor supporting Colombian peso weakness, namely type financial conditions higher than peers, current account deficit and uncertainty regarding the reform agenda will remain relevant.

The depreciation would stimulate non-traditional experts at the cost of exerting significant pressure on tradeable inflation. Finally, on the fiscal side, we expect central government's deficit to reduce from 5.6% of GDP in 2022 to 4.8% of GDP in 2023. The figure is consistent with the fiscal rule and incorporates the additional revenues from the tax reform. Moreover, if you assume that the additional tax collection coming from this reform will be split between social programs that service and fiscal consolidation, we anticipate that the net impact of the reform on overall economic will be manageable after this economic overview. Let me turn the presentation back to Juan Carlos. Juan?

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Juan Carlos Mora: Thank you, Juan Pablo. Moving to Slide number 4, I want to present the loans and deposits performance in the last two quarters. Growth in the loan portfolio has been mainly driven by commercial loans, which entails lower risk and provides better coverage structures. In retail, the most dynamic segment has been personal loans. We are experiencing a lower growth explained by high inflation and high interest rates. This changing trend is reflected more sharply in probes such as credit cards. In terms of our liability structure, and given the environment of raising rates after the first quarter, time deposits have grown at a faster pace than demand deposits, thus supporting our increasing funding needs. Access to midterm funding from international bank was also key during the quarter to complement our overall funding structure.

For the fourth quarter, I'm sure we throughout a good part of the first half of next year time deposits will be relevant to maintain a stable funding structure and comply with the liquidity requirements. A couple of weeks ago, we carried out a sustainable bond issuance for COP 640 billion throughout the International Development Bank. This is a mechanism used for the first time by Columbian Bank. On the Slide 5, we see the growth breakdown. When we analyze the evolution of the loan portfolio and the deposit based, it is important to note that depreciation of the peso had a significant impact not only in an annual basis, but also in the quarter. The local currency depreciated almost 11% from the end of June to the end of September, so after excluding the FX effect, the actual loan and deposit growth was 3%.

Year-over-year, the depreciation of the Columbian peso was 20%. So the real expansion in loans and deposits was 16%. And Slide 6, I want to provide some details on our pre-approved origination strategy. To create portfolio growth when excluding inflation has been around 15% year-over-year. Such performance is to result for process that we began five years ago. Based on the analysis of the cash flow and expenses of our clients, we have been able to calculate the payment capacity and offer pre-approved lines of credit with significant outcomes for the bank. Leveraged on analytics, we have been able to implement this strategy broad base across all segments in the case of retail, out of our customer base, COP 1.5 million have received an automatic customized offer in 2022.

This process has led to a positive origination approach reflected in the 30-day pass due loan ratio of 4.7% lower when compared to a 5.6% of the whole consumer portfolio. On SMEs and corporate clients, we have also developed the capacity to pre-approved loans based not only on the financial statements, but also on the actual cash flows allowing us to be more accurate on our offers. This explains why we are having a better risk profile than the pre-pandemic figures. Bear in mind that in 2023, we could experience a higher deterioration caused by inflationary pressures, higher interest rates and lower economic growth. And Slide 7 and 8, represent the transactional performance of the bank as one of the key developments to highlight in the last few years.

Power by the investments we making technology, the modernization of the distribution network and implementation of digital solutions. We continue experiencing an accelerated shift to digital channels coupled with an important demand for services in physical channels, increasing our footprint in banking agents that have partially absorbed the increased volume of transactions. We would like to share some of the figures that show our competitive advantage in the use of the different channels offered by the bank. First, as share of more than 70% in the Colombia mobile transaction market confirms our strong presence on the client's everyday activities. Second, an upward trend in digital engagement has led 76% of our customers to adopt at least one digital channel to execute their transactions.

And third, banking agents account for 67 of the total in-person monetary transaction in Colombia and branches represents 30% of the total in-person monetary operations. This gives a sense of the size of our customer base and the impact in the economy as well as our widespread presence across regions. Moving to Slide 9. You can see an update on the technology transformation of the bank. First, we have made an important progress in the journey to cloud allowing us to speed up our time to market, having more secure applications, accelerating innovation and reducing costs. We have now 63% of the technological components of the bank already in the cloud. Second Bancolombia has at 9.6% IT personal turnover compared to the industry average of 20%.

Today, 51% of IT is in house and 49% it's outsourced. There we have implemented the API strategy aim to enable new business models such as banking as a service and open finance, connecting to new ecosystems and improving the customer experience. On Slide 10, we present our ESG update. We remain focused on reaching our 2030 goal of COP 500 trillion on the ESG criteria. We are getting closer to the goal of financing COP 103 trillion in 2022, reaching as of September already COP 91 trillion. This quarter, we were able issue the first bond in Latin America tied to sustainable indicators for an amount of COP 640 billion, and we received a credit line from Citibank for $100 million tied to sustainable goals. After this general update of the current situation of Bancolombia, now I want to turn the presentation to Jose Humberto Acosta who will give additional details of about performance during the third quarter of 2022.

Jose Humberto?

Jose Humberto Acosta: Thank you, Juan Carlos. Now turning to Slide 11, we provide a snapshot of provisions and asset quality. Our commitment to responsible growth remains under control. NPLs are still reflecting healthy balance sheets both 30 and 90 days as a result of the positive client's performance and as a Juan Carlos explained based on execution of a structure process of pre-approved loans. Provision for credit losses were COP 1.2 trillion or 1.9% cost of risk for the quarter and 0.9% for the last 12 months. It is important to mention and one of effect related to a real estate builder in client Banistmo that represented an important provision expenses for the quarter. The coverage for this client is close to 60% and the bank has a real estate warranties in place to secure the rest of the obligation.

When discounting this one off in the quarter, the estimation for cost of risk would result in 1.5% or COP 902 billion in provision charges. We must remark the charge-off is increase in this quarter at the end of the credit reliefs granted during the pandemic that have deteriorated gradually and cost the above mentioned value. We should converge to a normalized level of provisions in the coming quarters by credit deterioration under the current economic cycle. We estimate that the cost of risk for 2022 could be at around 1.6%. On Slide 12 represent the breakdown of provisions during the quarter, a moderate sequential increase in provision expenses experience since the second quarter is primarily driven by the consumer portfolio expansion in the last year.

Additionally, a lower level of provisions releases associated to a macroeconomic viables and where lines of credit under financial reliefs. Our allowances as a percent touch of loans continues to be as strong to face eventual deterioration. The coverage on 30-day past due loans is 154%. For the upcoming quarters, we expect to see an increase in credit deterioration and provision expenses for the most part in retail due to the challenging macroeconomic environment of inflation and high interest rates. On Slide 13, represent a consolidated and standalone capital allocation. Consolidated total solvency ratio stands at a level of 12.5% while CET1 at a level of 10% under full Basel III for the third quarter. The reduction in the solvency ratios is explained in the first place by the depreciation of the local currency when converting the assets to higher yield dollar rate.

On the other hand, the organic growth of the loan portfolio in Colombia during the last 12 months contributed to higher risk weighted assets as for capital ratios. For year end, our estimation for core equity Tier 1 is 10% area considering for the fourth quarter, the credit demand, the forecasted earnings and the FX rate. Slide number 14 shows the asset sensitivity to interest rates. The monetary policy has continued its contractionary cycle in Columbia throughout the third quarter generating and extending expansion on margins. On the deposit side, it is very relevant to highlight the 62% weight on fixed as rates in environmental volatility, helping to protect the margin of the bank in a rate hike cycle. On the asset side, the combination of two elements, the credit originations at higher rates in all loan categories.

And on the commercial portfolio, a large share index to floating rates quickly runs into repricing. On Slide 15, we'll present a liquidity position of the bank. The impact of the rate hike cycle in Columbia is evident in the funding cost. The Central Bank took its revenue rates from 3% in generally to 10% at the end of September, triggering a sustained deposit repricing throughout 2022. We have been seeing an important growth of 25% in both consumer and wholesale deposits during the last 12 months that have balanced expansion in the loan book at the same pace. Here, I will highlight the composition of our funding structure as a competitive advantage as 56% is represented by demand deposit, which make our overall cost very competitive. Out of this share, 44% are represented by saving accounts at a very low interest.

These volumes are possible, thanks to our leadership position in the system from a transactional point of view. Time deposits have increased more rapidly in the last quarter to help us compensate for longer term needs. Finally, we have gradual increase our midterm funding with loss from international banks and multilateral institutions contributing to the consolidation of a more stable funding structure. On Slide 16, we see the evolution of margins and net interest income. Rising interest rates have led to a sustained higher net interest margin after the second half of 2021. Net interest margin closed at a 7.2% level, expanding quarterly by 50 basis points following their hiking rate cycle in Colombia. Net interest income increased by 72% over the last 12 months, mainly due to the repricing on assets and a lot lower extent, a larger credit portfolio.

In the case of investments, the analyzed net interest margin had an outstanding results closing at a 6.6% in the third Q, extending a positive trend during 2022. This expansion is largely explained by the evaluation of debt securities following interest rate hikes and exchange rate fluctuations in the treasuries portfolios. We expect the reference rate in Columbia to close at a level of 11.75% by year end. Margins will not grow at the same pace going forward since we now face a higher increase in interest expenses as repricing on deposits will offset growth in interest income faster. Given the result as of September, we expect to close the year with a NIM at around 6.8%. On Slide 17, we'll present an overview of Columbia and Central America.

In general terms, the trend in the lending business throughout the different geographies operated by Bancolombia was similar, a continued growth in the loan book, an increasing interest income, and a solid position in terms of capital and liquidity. In terms of asset quality, we see good trends except from Banistmo that had some particular provision expenses impacting the bottom line. Banco Agricola in El Salvador shows good loan and deposit dynamics growing in each at the faster pace than the market in an annual basis, highlighting a positive performance of the commercial segment. From the deposit side, the bank has experienced an important growth in saving accounts to balance short-term loan growth at a very low cost. In the same way, Banistmo presents the loan book growing at a level of 7% in an annual basis driven by commercial outpacing the market average.

Asset quality was impacted by a corporate case as well as some deterioration in retail demanding high provisions expenses. Finally, BAM in Guatemala has shown a resilient loan originations through our mid-year with increasing margins. We are expecting to close the year with a growth around 9% in U.S. dollars where consumer portfolio will continue to lead the pace. We are managing liquidity in an effective way, increasing our credit lines with corresponding banks to balance our funding needs. Slide 18 shows the evolution of expenses and efficiency. Operating expenses increased 14% in an annual basis. Recently, the faster pace of the local currency depreciation has implied our recalculation of our OpEx growth expectations considering an important portion of our cost index to U.S. dollar, especially associated to technology components.

In addition, there are two main factors explaining the growth experience during the year. First, inflation rates in 2022 have pushed forward the increases in expenses to operate their business. And second, the performance related compensation expenses provisions are higher in a year of growing earnings. We see good trends in efficiency ratio, so we anticipate closing on a ratio of 44% to 45% for the full year as a result of revenues outpacing expenses growth on a yearly basis. Slide 19 shows the evolution of fees. As of September of 2022, net fees have increased 11% when compared to the same period of 2021. We would like to explain the main reasons that have contributed to such growth. First, fees from banking services, debit, credit cards, and retail activities sustain a positive trend during a year.

Higher volume of transactions and a strong client engagement show our dynamic activity in the quarter. And second, Bancassurance has improved as originations remain at high levels in 2022, and insurance claim have decreased contributing to the net result. We maintain our growth guidance for the full year at a 10% area. Slide 20 shows the profitability metrics. Net income for the quarter was COP 1.6 trillion and delivered a return equity of 19% and 20% for the last 12 months. The effective tax rate as of September is 31.4%. Our guidance for 2022 full year will be 31% area. We remain confident in our revenue expectations for 2022 as we experience a consolidation of positive trends in the third quarter driving growth and higher earnings when compared to last year.

Now, I want to turn the presentation to Juan Carlos for the closing remarks. Juan Carlos?

Juan Carlos Mora: Thank you, Jose Umberto. The good results of this quarter have been a combined effect of the good operational performance of the bank and deposited development of the economies where we operate. For 2023, we see important challenges considering a significant deceleration in GDP growth. It implies many challenges for us in the credit demand, a likely reduction on margins for the second half of next year, a potential pickup in the provisions expenses that according to our estimate, could reach 1.8% of cost of credit. In the same way, we are expecting a slower growth on fees linked to a less dynamic economic activity and tax expenses will be higher following the approval of the tax reform in Colombia. Finally, our guidance for expenses is closing 2023 slightly above inflation levels.

We'll continue focus our efforts on developing the technological modernization of the bank and complete the digital transformation path of our business. Now I will open the line for questions.

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