The Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico closed Fiscal ’12 with a record-setting $208 million portfolio of loans granted to the island’s small and mid-sized businesses, the highest figure on record since its establishment in 1985, agency officials said Thursday.
EDB President Ivonne Otero said the portfolio exceeded the agency’s goal by $18 million in loans approved and by $9 million in closings.
The $208 million represents an 11 percent increase in approvals compared to Fiscal ’11. The official also said the level of delinquency was reduced to 15 percent from 39 percent in January 2009, while bad debt recoveries reached $3.7 million at the end of the fiscal year. The goal had been to recover $2 million, she said.
“The EDB’s financial results for the end of the year have exceeded all expectations. Our programs have attracted the attention of hundreds of Puerto Ricans who today are new customers of the bank and emerging entrepreneurs, supporting the creation of new businesses in all market segments,” Otero said.
“Beyond the achievements for the institution, these numbers take on special meaning in the context of what they stand for the strengthening of the island’s economy,” she added.
Several initiatives designed to help non-traditional market segments — such as students, ex-convicts and health professionals — got credit for the year’s growth. The initiatives grouped under the “Because you Can” program generated $17 million in loan approvals and 684 jobs.
Meanwhile, the EDB’s Women’s Loan program has expanded the bank’s portfolio by 300 percent and $80 million, while the bank approved 15 credit lines to nonprofits worth $2 million.
Aside from launching several programs, the EDB struck partnerships to spur economic development with local trade groups, namely the United Retailers Association, the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, the Family Department’s Socio-Economic Development Administration, known as ADSEF, and most recently the Puerto Rico Investment Board.
“This year has been one of tireless work for the entire EDB team and these results reflect that,” Otero said. “Our greatest satisfaction is knowing that we are pumping life back into Puerto Rico’s economy and we’re returning the people’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship.”