Stephen Simpson, CFA
Long only, growth at reasonable price, value, research analyst

Popular Has Survived, But What Happens Next?

Puerto Rico's largest bank, Popular (NASDAQ:BPOP), certainly earned its seat at the table with other seriously distressed banks like Doral (NYSE:DRL), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Synovus (NYSE:SNV). This bank's non-performing loan ratio topped out at over 10% at one point, with bad construction loans making up almost a third of bad loans (despite being less than 10% of the loan book).

Like other distressed banks, Popular took advantage of the government's largesse (including TARP) to get its affairs back in order. Bad credit inflows have improved significantly and the bank continues to sport a relatively high net interest margin and a surprisingly competitive efficiency ratio. That has helped the bank join...

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