Up to September 2016 annual growth in the loan portfolio of the banking system decreased from 23% to 20%.
From the Central Bank´s financial report, September 2016:
Credit growth declined. In September 2016, gross loans totaled 136,803.4 million cordobas, with a growth of 20.0 percent. This represents a decrease of 3.1 percentage points compared to the figure seen in September 2015.Meanwhile, real credit growth declined by 3.9 percentage points compared to that observed in September 2015 (19.8% vs 15.9% 2015 2016).The gross loan portfolio of the financial system remains active with the most weight in the balance of the financial system (66.0%).
Up to the month of August the balance of the loan portfolio in the banking system amounted to $47.7 million, 9.9% more than in the same month in 2015.
Although the latest official census figures on constructions were not very promising, this sector continues to lead the growth of credit in Panama.Up to August, credit granted by banks to the construction sector recorded its second highest rate of growth, with 16%, preceded only by credit for industrial activities, which grew by almost 20% during the period in question.
In Costa Rica the index of activity in the construction sector has had 4 consecutive months of downturn, and now faces the threat of new financial rules which will make access to credit more costly.
The construction sector's main concern is the impact that interest rates will have on the new standards which financial institutions will need to comply with.They are predicting an increase in credit costs primarily because of the new rules already in force and which determine that for institutions that lend money"... The minimum percentage level of the countercyclical estimate required is 0.33%. Each entity must register on a monthly basis expenditure equivalent to a minimum of 7% of its profits, until it reaches an optimum level defined by the Sugef. "
Presenting a tax declaration will be a requirement for some companies seeking bank loans.
The move is part of the Regulation on the Qualification of the Debtors, which has been in effect since June 17.The companies that will be asked for this requirement are those who "... have a good credit record, low currency risk in the event of abrupt changes in the dollar and have audited financial statements."
New regulations are being prepared for measuring currency risk for banks, whose loan portfolio in dollars grew by almost 13% in one year, while 78% of those who borrow in dollars receive their income in local currency.
Figures from the General Superintendent of Financial Institutions (SUGEF) indicate that 41% of the principal balance of outstanding loans is denominated in foreign currency and the rest in colones.Added to this it is the fact that 78% of borrowers of these loans in dollars earn their money in colones.
Three banks account for 70% of total loans granted to the construction sector, whose balance up to March grew by 17% year on year.
The annual increase of 17% is lower than the 25% growth achieved in the loan portfolio for construction between March 2014 and March 2015, reflecting a slowdown in the growth rate of financing commercial construction, housing and infrastructure.
After more than two years of virtual immobility, the dollar started a rise which has been linked to changes in external variables, accompanied by a concentration of credit in the US currency.
Accompanying this depreciation of the local currency is an increase in the benchmark rate for dollars, a new indicator that the Central Bank started publishing a few weeks ago.
An editorial on Nación.com notes "...The new benchmark rate in foreign currency calculated weekly by the Central Bank has gone up.There has also been a slight rise in quotes of the colón against the dollar in the foreign exchange market.Could there be a relationship between the two movements? "
It is reported that the reason for the rate hike is"... in the opinion of those bankers who were surveyed ... the rise is due to a shortage , or perhaps less abundance, of dollars circulating in our environment. Closely linked to the lower liquidity is the high concentration of credit granted in that currency. "
The business sector is opposed to a bill which aims to regulate interest rates on bank and nonbank loans, including credit cards.
In the opinion of the private sector the usury bill that is being promoted by the executive branch "... contradicts the laws governing financial activity."This is the view of the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), who presented several comments on the text to the Presidential House and Congress .