SOURCE: Paragon Financial Limited

Paragon Financial Limited

October 07, 2011 08:16 ET

Overbanked Puerto Rican Market in Need of Consolidation

The Paragon Report Provides Equity Research on Popular Inc. & First Bancorp

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Oct 7, 2011) - Banks like Popular Inc. and First Bancorp have been hurt by the weak Puerto Rican market, low interest rates and the presence of too many banks in the region. Some smaller banks in Puerto Rico have begun to look to merge or consolidate in order to survive amongst the larger banks in the over banked region. The Paragon Report examines the outlook for the Regional Banking sector and provides research reports on Popular Inc. (NASDAQ: BPOP) and First Bancorp (NYSE: FBP). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.paragonreport.com/BPOP

www.paragonreport.com/FBP

After years of strong growth, for the past two decades Puerto Rico's economy has declined as countries in the Caribbean and Latin America have lured away manufacturing and tourists. The US territory depends heavily on income from the federal government. Last year the government pumped more than $15 billion into Puerto Rico's economy. Even with the cash infusion, when Fortuno took office in 2009, Puerto Rico had accumulated a $3 billion deficit. To deal with the budget, Fortuno cut government spending by almost one-fifth and slashed more than 20,000 government jobs.

The Paragon Report provide investors with an excellent first step in their due diligence by providing daily trading ideas, and consolidating the public information available on them. For more investment research on Regional Banks with us free at www.paragonreport.com and get exclusive access to our numerous stock reports and industry newsletters.

Popular, Inc is a diversified, publicly owned bank holding company. The Company operates in two markets: Puerto Rico and Mainland United States. In Puerto Rico market the Company provides retail and commercial banking services through its principal banking subsidiary, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR), as well as auto and equipment leasing and financing, mortgage loans, investment banking, broker-dealer and insurance services through specialized subsidiaries. The Bank swung to a profit of $110.7 million (11 cents per diluted share) in the second quarter. Popular, Inc. had a net loss of $44.5 million or a loss 29 cents per share in the year earlier quarter.

A report from Reuters over the summer said that First Bancorp and Doral Financial, the No.2 and No.3 banking groups by assets in Puerto Rico, may be pushed into combining their operations to survive profitably in the Caribbean U.S. island territory's overbanked market. Combined, Firstbank and Doral would have $22.6 billion in total assets and more than $16 billion in deposits, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). Popular has $29 billion in assets and $20.75 billion in deposits.

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