Facebank International, founded in Puerto Rico in 2006, has maintained its forecast and rating from credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar, even in the midst of the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, General Manager Julio Carbonell confirmed.
In its most recent review, DBRS “favorably considered Facebank’s strict compliance with U.S. regulatory agencies, its business structure, and its unique status as the only international bank that maintains a real-time (online) connection with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,” Carbonell said, noting those were the key factors that contributed to the rating that they were awarded, which has remained at BB for a second year.
In its report, the rating agency highlighted that, even though it is a relatively young international bank, Facebank “has built a profitable banking franchise, helping its international customers transact business in the U.S.”
“Facebank has shown improving and strong profitability metrics driven by a high net interest margin (NIM), supported by low funding costs and above average return on its residential mortgage loan portfolio, its primary loan category,” states DBRS’s press release.
Facebank operates in Puerto Rico with a workforce of 40 employees, while the bank’s asset base is in Southern Florida’s real estate market – where the majority of its clients acquire properties through mortgage loans with minimum down payments of up to 30%.
In addition to reducing risk, this lowers the loan-to-value ratio. Default rates have also remained low, with fewer than 10% of clients making use of moratoriums due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mortgages in Southern Florida are originated by the bank’s wholly owned subsidiary, Florida Home Trust Mortgage.
“Facebank has become an expert in addressing the different jurisdictions in which we have a presence, in understanding international clients. Our clients feel confident because they know about our anti-money laundering policies and the bank’s credibility,” said Lesner Castillo, the company’s treasurer.
Facebank has a portfolio of more than 28,000 clients in countries within Central and South America. As of the beginning of this year, it announced the launch of the innovative pipolPay mobile app, a digital payment platform that makes it possible to request and submit payments in dollars from mobile devices in seconds.