First BanCorp., the bank holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico, reported net income of $33.1 million for the first quarter of 2018, or $0.15 per diluted share, compared to $24.2 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2017 and $25.5 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2017.
“The recovery in Puerto Rico following the impact of the hurricanes last year is underway and we continue to deal with a fragile electrical grid,” First BanCorp. CEO Aurelio Alemán said.
“Not surprisingly, our loan portfolio declined this quarter by $96 million, most of this reduction was distributed in the major loan categories in Puerto Rico with small growth in Florida,” he said.
Total loans decreased in the quarter by $96.2 million to $8.8 billion as of March 31, 2018. The decrease reflects reductions of $83.8 million and $15.5 million in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island regions, respectively, partially offset by a $3.1 million increase in the Florida region.
The decrease in the Puerto Rico region was reflected in all major loan categories, including decreases of $45.1 million in commercial and construction loans, $23.3 million in residential mortgage loans, and $15.4 million in consumer loans, the bank reported.
During the first quarter of 2018, the corporation transferred to held for sale three non-performing commercial and construction loans, one of which is in the USVI — quite likely Scrub Island Resort — and another in Florida.
Meanwhile, total deposits, excluding government and brokered CDs — which decreased $194 million this quarter — increased $195 million in the first quarter. Hurricane-related factors, such as the effect of payment deferral programs, disaster relief funds, and settlements of insurance claims continue to contribute to this accumulation, the bank noted.
Looking ahead, Alemán said “the second quarter is building at a better pace across our three regions and should reflect improvement during the second quarter.”
“Ultimately, we look to the opportunity as Puerto Rico continues to rebuild. We look for opportunities to grow the loan portfolio. We don’t expect to reach normalized origination levels until probably the third quarter as a trend that we continue to see,” he added.