Non-performing loans continue to decline
COMMERCIAL banks' non-performing loans (NPLs) fell by $570 million over the three months to September 30.
The decline over the quarter was a continuation of a trend since loans left unserviced for three months or more - NPLs - peaked at just over $23 billion last December.
NPLs fell to $19.9 billion at the end of March before gradually making its way down to $18.9 billion at the end of September.
The ratio of non-performing loans to total loans was 6.3 per cent at the end of September compared to 6.7 per cent three months before and 7.8 per cent at end-September 2011, according to the latest data published by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ).
Total commercial bank loans outstanding increased over the review period, from $288 billion to $299 billion, mainly due to growth in personal loans.
Loans to local residents climbed by five per cent, from $116 billion to $122 billion over the three-month period, while loans to overseas residents rose by 21 per cent, from $7.5 to $9 billion.
Net lending to distributors increased by seven per cent, from $37 billion to $40 billion, while manufacturers of food, drink and tobacco borrowed $1 billion more over the three months, increasing their debt after repayment to the banks, at $4.5 billion.
Loans outstanding to the construction and tourism sectors declined by $1.2 billion each, reducing the amounts owed by the two sectors to $19 billion and $26 billion, respectively.