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Global Credit Research - 10 Aug 2010
New York, August 10, 2010 -- The credit outlook for the Panamanian banks is stable, Moody's
Investors Service notes in its recently published profile on the Panamanian
"Our outlook reflects the banks' adequate performance throughout
the recent global turmoil as well as the good growth prospects for the
local economy and bank credit portfolios in 2010 and 2011,"
notes Jeanne Del Casino, Vice President and author of the report.
While profitability suffered in 2009 due to weaker loan demand overall
coupled with lower margins, these effects were manageable given
the system's relatively contained problem loan levels and adequate
"The stable outlook also reflects our view that the Panamanian banks
are in a position to recapture the lending momentum they exhibited prior
to the crisis," Ms Del Casino adds. More favorable
economic indicators, and ongoing investments in the Panama Canal
and other projects related to infrastructure, housing construction,
and tourism, should support this trend.
"Because of financial dollarization and the absence of a true lender
of last resort, the Panamanian banks maintain relatively high US
dollar liquidity on their balance sheets, " notes Ms.
Del Casino. The system has been able to grow deposits, thus
limiting its vulnerability to the global credit crunch, aided also
by the government's multilateral-assisted secured liquidity
facility that provided the banks with an important source of alternate
liquidity to deal with the downturn.
An established regulatory and supervisory framework and improving reporting
transparency are also credit positives for the Panamanian banking system.
Diligent implementation of Basle standards, particularly with respect
to capital and loan loss provisioning, together with a supportive
legal framework have also fostered development of the banking sector.
Moody's notes that real estate and mortgage finance have been recent
favorites of the banks, a development that is worth monitoring in
Panama. The ultimate impact of new taxes on banking services is
also to be defined, however, the agency indicates that such
effects could be offset by the lower income tax rate taking effect for
banks in 2012.
The report is titled "Banking System Profile: Panama."
* * *
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Jeanne Del Casino
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Financial Institutions Group
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M. Celina Vansetti
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's: stable credit outlook for Panama's banking system
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