PR Banking Industry Report Q2 2019

September 8, 2019

The local banking industry showed strong profitability in Q2 2019, closing the first half of the year with an annualized Pre-Tax ROE of 14.7%. The second quarter of 2019 is the fifth consecutive quarter that local banks report double digit profitability levels on a consolidated basis. This level of profitability had not been seen since prior to the onset of the 2006 economic downturn. Local banks have been reporting robust earnings growth despite operating in a challenging market. Notwithstanding year-over-year improvements in some economic indicators, others remain weak. The Economic Activity Index increased by 5.8% in FY 2019 after six consecutive years of decline, but as of June 2019 it remained below pre-hurricane (August 2017) levels. In this issue we examine total deposits trends and banks’ branch footprint. Total industrywide deposits reached $60.0 billion in 2009, falling by $14.9 billion or 25% to $45.1 billion by 2016. However, 2016 marks a reversal of this downward trend, with total deposits reaching $57.7 billion by the end of Q2 2019, an increase of $12.6 billion or 28%. On the other hand, the number of branches has declined steadily from 493 in 2009 to 296 at the end of Q2 2019, a decrease of 40% or 197 in the 10-year period. As a result, average deposits of branches have increased significantly in the past three years, from $141.0 million in 2016 to $194.9 million in YTD 2019. Given that physical coverage still plays a strategic role, banks will need to continue identifying opportunities to increase coverage and/or further reduce their footprint.

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