Consumption by private companies and households went up by 4.6% in the first half of the year, exceeding the average growth rate of 2% of its main trading partners.
An example of the pace at which private consumption has been growing in the country is the relevance it has taken on in the bank's loan portfolios. Deputy general manager of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Bernardo Alfaro, explained that"... These kinds of operations rose from 28% of total credit seven years ago to 32% today."
In April 2016 the balance of the credit card debt was $1.688 billion, 15% more than in the same period in 2015.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry:
The study with a cut off date of April 30 determined that the balance of debt is 908.149 million colones ($1.688 billion) (3.02% of GDP), which represents an increase of 1.27% compared to the previous study (January), while the yoy increase was 15.4%.
Up to December 2015 28% of the total banking portfolio was destined for consumption activities, 26% to the construction sector and 16% to service activities.
Financial Monitoring figures compiled by the Commercial Intelligence unit at CentralAmericaData com show that credit unions are the institutions who awarded the most loans of this type, with 29.8% of their total portfolio.
In September the banking loan portfolio to the private sector recorded an increase of 17% compared to the same month last year.
Despite the political turmoil that the country has seen so far this year, bank credit portfolios have maintained positive figures and growth rates above 10%. The total loan portfolio in the banking system registered an annual increase of 13.9% in September this year, highlighting not only the growth of credit to businesses, but also for consumers, a category which grew by 15.7%.
Competition to attract customers into the banking sector in Panama and low interest rates account for the 12% growth in consumer credit between March 2014 and March 2015.
Between March 2014 and March 2015 the balance of the portfolio of consumer credit from Panamanian banks recorded an increase of 12.26%, exceeding $8 billion. The low interest rates of around 9% on average for personal installment loans up to 60 months, is the main incentive for borrowing.
Between December 2013 and December 2014 loans to cardholders increased by 27% while the number of inhabitants having possessing at least one card reached 800,000.
At the end of 2014 it was reported that 800,000 Nicaraguans who are cardholders have on average two credit cards. In the same period, the banks of the National Financial System approved a total of 810,000 loans with credit cards, and reported that about 45% of all registered purchases were paid for using plastic money.
The Honduran group Ficohsa has completed negotiations to buy shares in Citibank and Cititarjetas in Honduras.
With these two purchases Ficohsa group becomes the country's largest bank and consolidates itself in the area of personal and consumer banking, leaving the business of corporate and investment banking to Citi.