Banks likely to return to pre-crisis asset mix at end-2012 - Correval

Monday, February 21, 2011

Colombian banks are increasing loans as part of their asset mix, but they are not likely to reach the level attained before the global crisis until the end of 2012, Daniel Velandia Ocampo, economic research director at local brokerage Correval, told BNamericas.

Before the crisis, banks had an average of 17% of their assets in financial instruments, and this number increased to 23% at the end of last year due to the central bank's aggressive monetary policy during the crisis.

The central bank has gradually lowered the benchmark interest rate, which now stands at 3%, versus 10% in November 2008.

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Ocampo said he believes banks will end this year with 20-21% of their assets in financial investments and return to pre-crisis levels at the end of 2012.

Banks will enjoy yet another strong year of profitability in 2011, but it could come in lower than last year because financial investments - like government bonds - produce quicker gains than loans, Ocampo noted.