Housing slump continues to affect bank loan books

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Costa Rica's 2008 housing slump continues to weigh down banks' portfolios, Bernardo Alfaro, risk manager at the country's largest lender, Banco Nacional, told local newspaper La Nación.

The collapse of several high-profile housing projects in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and ongoing weak real estate sales have significantly raised the bank''s non-performing loans (NPL), Alfaro said.

At the end of July, Nacional's NPL ratio reached 3.8%, compared to the industry average of 2.5%, according to the latest statistics from industry regulator Sugef.

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State-owned Nacional accounts for more than a quarter of bank loans in Costa Rica.