PR Banking Industry Report Q3 2019

December 16, 2019

The local banking industry registered another strong quarter in Q3 2019, posting an industry-wide YTD 2019 annualized Pre-Tax ROE of 14.6%. All banks achieved double-digit profitability levels when looking at YTD Pre-Tax ROE, with Popular leading the way with 19.1%, followed by Scotia with 11.9%, FirstBank with 11.1%, Santander with 10.7%, and Oriental with 10.4%. The surviving banks have been able to perform well despite a challenging operating market and a still sluggish economic recovery. The slow pace of disbursements of post-disaster federal funds has thwarted a more robust recovery from materializing. While there have been some positive developments, like a historically low unemployment rate (7.7% in Oct. 2019), Puerto Rico is still very far from being on a sustainable growth path, and questions remain about growth drivers once post-disaster funds are depleted. In this issue, we analyze expected market share distributions in the wake of the latest wave of consolidations. In June 2019 Oriental announced the acquisition of Scotia’s Puerto Rico operations, while in October 2019 FirstBank reported the purchase of Santander’s Puerto Rico operations. With these latest acquisitions, local commercial banks will come to dominate the local market.

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