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

Popular's Credit Is Getting Better Faster Than Its Market's

Six months ago, I thought Puerto Rico's Popular (NASDAQ:BPOP) was one of the better bargains in the banking sector, even if the company's elevated bad debt, outstanding TARP balance, and dependence upon the weak PR economy made it a higher-risk pick. Since that piece, shares have risen about 14% - not bad when the regional bank ETFs (iShares US Regional Banks (NYSEARCA:IAT) and SPDR S&P Regional Banking (NYSEARCA:KRE)) are both up less than 10% and fellow PR bank First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP) has been flat, while Doral (NYSE:DRL) has been crushed.

In my view, Popular has continued to do what it needs to do to get back in investors' good...

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