From the Blog Pulso Bursátil by Aldesa:
Dollar credit, a bubble?
The data on the behavior of domestic credit provided by the Costa Rican Banking Association (ABC in Spanish) clearly outlines the behavior of dollar credit in the past year, which has increased significantly, both among private and public banks.
According to the ABC, up to June credit growth in local currency at the banking system level was 8.8%, an increase that was stable during the first part of the year.
At the bank level, national currency loans from public banks rose by 9.7% and by 3.9% from private banks
Contrary to what happens with loans in colones, the dollar credit growth has been steady, but has accelerated, mainly between April and June.
Across the banking sector credit in dollars increased by 17% in just twelve months (June 2011 to June 2012) ($1.195 million). The increase in the dollar portfolio was 24.7% in public banks and 12.7% in private banks in the aforementioned period.
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High interest rates in colones have encouraged a demand for credit in dollars, while local currency loans have grown by only 8.8%.
From Aldesa’s Blog, Pulso Bursátil:
The latest data from the Costa Rican Banking Association shows that high interest rates in colones have encouraged a demand for dollar credit.
In the last twelve months the loan portfolio grew by 12.7% in dollars and 15.6% in colones.
The portfolio of loans granted by financial institutions to the private sector continues to grow while at the same time interest rates are increasing in both dollars and colones in the local financial system.
Credit histories of businesses and individuals will be more thoroughly reviewed, as well as their actual repayment capacity.
"We want entities to analyze peoples's debts with everyone, because they may have a loan here and there, and in the end owe millions," said Javier Cascante, chief of the General Superintendence of Financial Entities (Sugef).
State banks are leading this growth, although private banks still retain 61% of the total loan portfolio in the U.S. currency.
An article in Nacion.com reports that "The growth in dollar loans from public banks is striking because it is a market that traditionally is dominated more by private financial institutions."