PR Banking Industry Report Q3 2018

December 10, 2018

The positive momentum in the local banking industry continued to build in the third quarter of 2018, following the historic and highly disruptive 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. The industry-wide Pre-Tax ROE in Q3 2018 reached 13.7%, following a strong first half of 2018 (Pre-Tax ROE of 8.3% in Q1 2018 and 17.4% in Q2 2018), yielding a YTD 2018 Pre-Tax ROE of 13.1%. These profitability levels have not been seen since 2005, prior to the onset of the prolonged and deep economic downturn. Concerns over the deterioration of asset quality have further abated given the latest quarterly delinquency levels. The Q3 2018 industry-wide nonperforming loans ratio stood at 7.6% from a peak of 9.2% in the wake of the hurricanes. Furthermore, after the temporal and non-recurring impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the banks’ income and expenses, banking productivity levels improved materially, reaching a cost to income ratio of 56.5% in YTD 2018 from 63.8% in 2017. Capital buffers remain exceedingly strong, with a consolidated Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital ratio of 20.9%. Going forward, strong banking performance is expected to continue given the billions of dollars in public and private post-disaster reconstruction funds that will be increasingly flowing through the economy and financial system. Lastly, in this issue, we benchmarked the profitability performance of local banks against that of similar-sized United States peer banks since 2015, also breaking down profitability by income and expense levers to help explain what drove the differences in YTD 2018.

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