First BanCorp., parent company for FirstBank Puerto Rico reported net income of $29.8 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, a significant improvement compared to the net loss of $82.2 million for the same period in 2011.
First BanCorp. also released figures for the fourth quarter of 2012, when it garnered $14.5 million in net income, a slide in comparison to the $19.1 million for the third quarter, but building upon the net loss of $14.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2011.
“Fourth quarter results capped a year of strong progress for First BanCorp., and we are pleased to report our third consecutive quarterly profit and first profitable year since 2008,” said First BanCorp. President Aurelio Alemán.
“The progress in advancing the franchise operating metrics is evident, pre-tax, pre-provision income reached $54.5 million for the quarter, up $26.0 million, or 91 percnt, compared to the same quarter last year,” he said.
Results for year 2012 reflect year-over-year improvements in a number of key areas, including an expanded net interest margin, stabilization in credit quality metrics, and a significant growth in non-brokered deposits and fee income, he added.
Furthermore, Alemán noted that the company’s net profit growth was also aided by lower provisions for loan losses, which were $30.5 million for the fourth quarter, up $1.5 million from the prior three-month period.
“This growth has occurred in a challenging economic environment and demonstrates the strength of our franchise and the continued benefits from effectively executing our strategic plan,” he said.
During 2012, First BanCorp achieved significant improvements Alemán said, pointing to a pre-tax, pre-provision income of $178.5 million, up 38 percent from the prior year; net interest income of $461.7 million, an increase of $68.2 million from last year; net interest margin of 3.63 percent, up from 2.82 percent in 2011; and fee income derived from deposits, loan products and transaction fees increased by approximately $6 million, including fee income generated from the credit card portfolio acquired in 2012.
The corporation’s credit-risk profile also improved as total non-performing assets decreased $99.1 million, or 7 percent, from last year and total net charge-offs decreased $116.5 million, or 39 percent.
“The quality of our deposit base improved in 2012 with a $313.7 million, or 5 percent, growth in non-brokered deposits while the number of consumer and commercial deposit customers in Puerto Rico grew 11 percent and 20 percent, respectively,” he said.
“Earnings generation over the past three quarters has strengthened our capital position. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to invest in our franchise through enhanced products and services, and work to improve our credit quality and operating efficiency in order to achieve consistent, profitable growth in the future and generate appropriate returns for our shareholders,” Alemán concluded.