Awards for Excellence 2021: Best bank in Paraguay
Best Bank: Banco Basa
The decision to name Banco Basa Paraguay’s best bank wasn’t based just on its outperformance – with credit growth of 11.7% in 2020 and up a further 8.7% in March this year – but also because it is targeting the sector that helped the country perform strongly through the pandemic.
The bank, under president Fernando Paciellois, a leading lender to the construction industry and grew its loan portfolio to the housing sector by 23%, helping the economy maintain its dynamism.
Basa is also increasing its exposure to the micro, small and medium-sized companies that have also been another prominent story in recent Paraguayan GDP growth. The bank has now financed more than 2,500 companies – a big number in a relatively small country – and much of this is focused in the critical agricultural sector.
Importantly, Basa continues to grow profitably. Its return on capital was 21%, ahead of its peers and, although down from 2019 levels, it suffered relatively less erosion. The loan book is growing fast but continues to run with strict risk controls; and the bank’s NPL rate stood at 2.26% in March 2021, nearly 50bp better than the banking system average of 2.73%.