BankingFinancial District

Puerto Rico’s financial system reports 2% asset drop

Puerto Rico’s financial system has reflected consecutive year-over-year drops since 2011, and has contracted by 29 percent since 2006, when the island’s recession began and the sector had a combined $207.6 billion in assets. Puerto Rico’s financial system has reflected consecutive year-over-year drops since 2011, and has contracted by 29 percent since 2006, when the island’s recession began and the sector had a combined $207.6 billion in assets.

Puerto Rico’s financial system — which comprises local and international commercial banks, cooperatives, mortgage and investment companies, and public banks, among others — reported $147.6 billion in assets during the third quarter of 2013, down about 2 percent from the $151.2 billion on record for the same period in 2012.

While commercial banks, brokerage houses, investment firms and government banks reported shrinking numbers, international banks and co-ops were on a growth path, according to data gathered by the Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions for the period ended Sept. 30.

When broken down, commercial banks reported a combined $61.7 billion in assets, which represented 41.8 percent of Puerto Rico’s financial universe. International banking entities followed with $42.3 billion in assets, representing 28.6 percent of the total pie. Co-ops rounded out the top three spots with $8.3 billion in assets as of June 2013, or 9.8 percent of the island’s financial assets, the report showed.

Puerto Rico’s financial system has reflected consecutive year-over-year drops since 2011, and has contracted by 29 percent since 2006, when the island’s recession began and the sector had a combined $207.6 billion in assets.

During the third quarter of this year, brokerage firm assets were among the hardest hit, at $29.7 billion — down about 16 percent from the $35.2 billion on record for the same quarter in 2012.

Another segment that reflected negative growth was mortgage loan companies, which reported a combined $1.7 billion in assets, down from the $1.9 billion for the same year-ago quarter. The most recent results represent less than half of the $5.4 billion in capital the sector reported for the same three-month period in 2011.

Finally, the Commissioner’s report shows that Banco Popular remains the island’s largest bank, with $25.3 billion in assets and 172 branches as of Sept. 30, followed by FirstBank, with $9.6 billion in assets and 47 branches, and Oriental Bank, with $7.4 billion in assets and 56 branches.

To read the report in full, click here.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 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 areas of the economy.

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