Event though stats for the first half of 2009 do not report an increase in the credit balance of the banking system, "bankers forecast higher loan growth than predicted by the Central Bank in its macroeconomic program revision. The Bank estimated credit growth at 4.3% in Colones and 3% in U.S. dollars."
An article in Elfinancierocr.com reports that consumer confidence has increased, which reflects in more loans for home building.
In general, the banking sector casts doubts over next year's projections by the Central Bank, considering them too pessimistic in the light of recent economic recovery signals in several sectors.
The Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Costa Rica reported that the repossession of property for unpaid debts rose 77% from February 2008 to February 2009.
The increase in auction advertising for goods recovered by the banks is well-known, especially for real estate and cars whose owners cannot continue to make the monthly payments due to loss of income, unemployment and primarily because of the increase in interest rates.
The scare liquidity of colones explains the lower growth of loans in this currency, while credit growth in dollars continues to lose strength.
Added to the diminished liquidity in colones putting downward pressure on credit growth in that currency, is uncertainty at enterprise-level over recent changes in the exchange rate and lower credit demand for real estate projects, power generation and tourism, as explained by bankers to Nacion.com.
In times of credit crunch from the usual sources, it is appropriate to remember that there are other alternatives for financing projects.
The Andean Development Corporation (CAF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) of the IDB, and the Central American Economic Integration Bank (BCIE) are all sources of financing for high impact development projects by the private sector which are highly unused by our bankers and businesses.
It is indispensable for the economy to continue using credit to finance production and commercial operations.
The analysis by Raul Moreira published in the La Estrella in Panama emphasizes that "the demand for internal credit by the private sector was at $31.6 billion in October and continued to grow at 20.38%, while deposits had an increase of 24.69%, which shows that the main source of financing for the expansion of credit comes from domestic savings by individuals. Prudence and caution is recommended for credit policies and it is important to maintain the rhythm of capturing funding."
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