An aggressive banking campaign and consider new issues in the stock market are some of the actions that the National Bank of Panama (NBP) will undertake in 2019 to diversify the source of income, after reporting in 2018 a net profit of 184 million dollars, 15% more than in 2017.
The general manager of the NBP, Rolando de León, presented on Friday the preliminary results of 2018 of the main state bank of Panama, which accumulates 650 million dollars of capital, 80 million injected last year.
"We believe that we must increase our customer base -from 596,896 in 2018- boosting bankization, that is a tool to diversify our source of funds, which is currently 80 percent from the State", he said.
The country's main state financial institution reported assets of 9.14 billion dollars last year, 600 million less than in 2017, divided by 46.5 percent for the loan portfolio; 29.8 percent investments; 19.5 percent interbank placements and 4.2 percent surplus.
De Leon said that the loan portfolio last year reached 4.252 million dollars, which is 611 million or 16.78 percent above that of 2017, when it reached 3.641 million dollars.
The private portfolio, 3,788 million dollars, represented 89 percent of total loans last year.
Meanwhile, he explained, the delinquency rate was 1.4 percent, 2.4 percentage points below the Panamanian banking industry average (3.8 percent).
The electronic wallet, which began experimentally in three communities of the capital, Chilibre, Pacora and San Martín, among the beneficiaries of the food security programs of the Ministry of Social Development (MIDES), will reach its fullness "in about two years" at the national level, he considered.
Increase trucks with mobile banking (currently 3), promote the use of online banking, issue more debit cards "social key", have more than 300 ATMs by 2019, are other facilities that the NBP promotes to be able diversify their sources of income and "depend less and less on the State".
De León said that the institution has been updated with the latest business technology, but categorically ruled out that it will be involved in cryptocurrencies, "as long as there is no legislation that regulates them".
However, he said that they will leave the next administration "for evaluation" the study to install an integrated operations center in order to provide uninterrupted service, and "mid-year" launch the "gross settlement in Real Time "(LBTR) in order that the compensation of transactions are given automatically, not as now, once a day.
"We know that there are challenges in the future for the following administrations in the State in terms of the funds that the government maintains with us, as well as the Social Security funds, which are currently growing, but we know what needs to be done important reforms so that they do not start to be affected", the executive explained.
He added that the bank can obtain financing from correspondent banks, and also said that it can "resume" the issuance of securities on the Panama Stock Exchange.
The accountability of the bank's financial situation in 2018 under the management of Rolando de León is the last of the five-year period of the government of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, which will conclude next June 30.
The Bank was created in 1904 as an autonomous entity of the Panamanian State with assets, and is responsible for the direction and operation of the exchange and the clearing house of the entire national banking system.
Panama does not issue its own paper money and uses the US dollar as legal currency, although the balboa is the monetary unit of the country, which is on par with the dollar.