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Popular Inc. reports $206M in 4Q21 net income, up 17% Y-O-Y

Popular Inc., parent company of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, reported net income of $206.1 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2021, compared to net income of $176.3 million in the same period in 2020.

The financial institution also reported net income of $934.9 million for the year 2021, compared to net income of $506.6 million for the year 2020.

“Our fourth quarter results reflect a strong finish to a record year,” Popular Inc. CEO Ignacio Álvarez said. “During the quarter we continued adding new clients, increasing our deposit base and growing most of our loan portfolios. We also launched a new digital platform where small business customers in Puerto Rico can apply for loans in a more convenient way.”

Popular’s customer base in Puerto Rico grew by 43,000 in 2021, of which 1,800 was in the fourth quarter to reach nearly 1.95 million unique customers.

Active users on the Mi Banco platform exceed 1.1 million and have grown by 3% since December 2020 and by 20% at December 2019, the executive said.

“We captured two-thirds of our deposits during the period through digital channels. This trend remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels,” Álvarez said.

Meanwhile, Álvarez said Popular Inc. is “optimistic about the economic outlook,” due to several conditions, including the recent confirmation of Puerto Rico’s debt adjustment plan, which “should be an important catalyst for Puerto Rico’s fiscal and economic recovery.”

“The plan eliminates uncertainty and provides necessary clarity to confidently plan investments toward Puerto Rico’s sustainable growth,” he said.

“In addition to the unprecedented level of federal stimulus with COVID, Puerto Rico still has a significant amount of hurricane recovery funds that have yet to be dispersed but have now begun to flow at a faster pace,” he said, noting that when those funds are coupled with what is expected from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, “we think there’s probably $50 billion to $60 billion left to be dispersed.”

“The combined impact of these factors along with the continued progress on the resolution of Puerto Rico’s fiscal issues should generate considerable economic activity in many sectors for the coming years, and we are well-positioned to benefit from such activity,” he said.

Finally, bank officials announced that Banco Popular recently received a certification from the Cities Financial Empowerment Fund, with which it can now offer “Bank On” certified accounts.

Bank On certified accounts promote financial inclusion for consumers who do not have banking services through basic functions of regular accounts in which low cost is guaranteed and in which the ability to carry out a diversity of transactions and accessibility of channels is offered.

“In Puerto Rico, we’re the only bank that is currently offering a ‘Bank On’ product. We’re committed to improving access to financial services from members of our community that have for number of reasons remain outside the traditional banking system,” Álvarez said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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