In April this year the mortgage loan portfolio of the banking system amounted to $12 billion, 15% more than in the same month in 2014.
The growing demand for homes in Panama is the main factor behind the steady growth in mortgage lending, which is expected to continue rising due to the deficit that still exists in the availability of housing.
The growth in the portfolio between April 2014 and March of this year was $1.545 billion.
The portfolio of mortgage loans at the end of 2014 exceeded $11 billion, with the categories of social interest loans and homeownership loans recording the highest growth rates.
Credit for housing increased by $1,142 million compared to 2013, followed by the commercial sector, where $195 million more was invested than in the previous year, according to the Superintendency of Banks in Panama (SBP). At the end of 2014 mortgages "... represented 7% of the 4 million active references which reside in the database of the Panamanian Credit Association (APC)."
In March the balance of new bank loans reached $34.339 billion, which is $4.729 billion more than earned in the same period of 2012, when the total was $29.61 billion.
Figures from the Superintendency of Banks in Panama (SBP), reveal that most of the growth in lending balances is in the private sector, with $4.3329 billion, while the public sector only received $396 million.
Panamanian banks are preparing for the migration from magnetic to chip cards in an effort to reduce fraud in the country.
Although the change from magnetic to chip cards (EMV) in Panama is being applied gradually, banks such as Bac Credomatic and Banco General are already applying the finishing touches to adopting this new technology.
The average interest rate in Panamanian banks fell from 9.41% in December 2011, to 9.11% in the same month of 2012.
Capital.com.pa reports that Rolando De Leon, vice president of operations and cash flows of Metrobank, said: "This behaviour in rates is in response to competitive pressure exerted by Panamanian banks to acquire more participation in the segment of consumer credit. "
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