Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

September 2007: Is Puerto Rico Overbanked?

An outlook of the local banking industry

From 1992-2005, Puerto Rico’s banking industry enjoyed historical growth rates thanks to favorable economic conditions and low interest rates. For the past two years, the banking industry has faced an economic deceleration, an inverted yield curve, and a credit crunch. All these factors are forcing banks to look for ways to increase efficiencies in order to maintain profitable operations. Many argue that an overdue industry consolidation is necessary to reach those efficiencies. During the past 15 years, the industry consolidated from 22 institutions in 1992 to 10 in 2007. Given this trend, is Puerto Rico still overbanked?