First BanCorp., the bank holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico, reported Thursday net income of $23.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to $24.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2016 and $15.0 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2015.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, the corporation reported net income of $93.2 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, compared to $21.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015.
“We’re quite pleased with our results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year end 2016,” said First BanCorp. President Aurelio Alemán.
“Throughout the uncertain macroeconomic backdrop in Puerto Rico our institution continues to improve performance metrics and demonstrate improving earnings capabilities,” he said.
“We generated net income for the fourth quarter of $23.9 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, and $93.2 million, or $0.43 per diluted share for the year. Adjusted pre-tax pre-provision income reached $208 million for 2016 and efficiency ratio improved to 62 percent for the year,” he added.
During the fourth quarter, the bank saw improvement in all of its key franchise metrics: Its loan portfolio grew $16 million despite the sale of non-performing assets. Deposits net of government and brokered increased $29 million, while reducing reliance on brokered CDs by $119 million.
“We were able to expand our net interest margin to 4.30 percent and further reduce our expense base. Our nonperforming assets declined slightly by $9.5 million compared to the prior quarter. We continue to experience some migration into nonperforming assets but remain diligent in our efforts to reduce these,” Alemán said.
The banking executive noted that the involvement of the U.S. Congress, the recently approved Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act and the change in administration in Puerto Rico “are viewed as drivers for improved fiscal governance, debt balancing and economic stability. Our Puerto Rico government exposure declined slightly and we remain encouraged and focused on achieving the resolution to our nonperforming Puerto Rico government exposures,” he said.
On the capital front, during 2016 the bank repurchased a small portion of its trust preferred securities; brought current the accrued and unpaid interest on its trust preferred securities; completed a secondary offering; and reinstated the dividends on its preferred stock.
“Our turnaround story is well underway and our leadership team is committed to continue enhancing shareholder value as we navigate through the Puerto Rico economic turnaround,” he added.