PR Banking Industry Report Q2 2018

September 5, 2018

The local banking industry’s profitability on a consolidated basis has rebounded strongly in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, reaching a Pre-Tax ROE of 17.4% in Q2 2018, making it the highest quarterly profitability level in a decade. The liquidity position of local banks, particularly of Popular, has experienced a material improvement, with total deposits reaching $54.1 billion as of the end of Q2 2018 from $48.8 billion in Q3 2017, a $5.3 billion or 10.9% increase. Hurricane-related private insurance claims paid out to policyholders and post-disaster federal assistance funds deposited in private banks have largely driven this surge in deposits. This newfound liquidity will need to be put to productive use, either through increased lending or investments. The unadjusted nonperforming loans ratio showed some improvement in Q2 2018, decreasing from 9.2% to 8.8%, temporarily appeasing concerns of a spike in delinquencies. Capital positions of banks continue exceedingly strong, reporting an industry-wide Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio of 21.5%. The deployment of excess capital through organic and inorganic growth opportunities (e.g. Popular’s Reliable purchase), stock repurchases or dividend payments to shareholders must be strategically pondered. Moreover, in this revamped issue we analyze Post-Hurricane Maria foreclosure relief efforts and their impact on banks and the housing market.

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