Outstanding colon credit slows, bankers say

Credit numbers in colons have plateaued for the country’s banking sector. Asociación Bancaria Costarricense data showed that since March the growth rate of credit in colons has dipped from 11.9 percent to 10.4 percent as of June.

This decline in credit issued to the banks is directly associated with the decreased amount of liquidity in the financial system’s balance of deposits, according to Gilberto Serrano, the association’s president. These deposits allow banks to make loans to the general public.

On the other end, credit in dollars has maintained itself at a relatively even level, despite a quick spike in June. According to data from Banco Central, credit growth in the dollar from December of 2013 to June of this year was only 2.8 percent, compared with 6.8 percent a year earlier.

Serrano said there are two major reasons for the credit being stagnant in dollars, and both relate to a government that is careful when facing the foreign exchange risk. Clients are more cautious, given the volatile nature of exchange rates seen in February and March. Also, he said, the financial institutions are implementing careful measures after being advised to do so from the country’s financial supervision board.

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