Best Bank: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
The 93-year-old state owned bank Banco Nacional de Costa Rica has a total of 36.5% of the assets of the banking system in Costa Rica and is one of the biggest banks in central America. Its loan portfolio makes up about 31.2% of all loans issued in the country. At the end of March 2007, assets stood at $4.59 billion, against $3.87 billion at the end of March 2006, an increase of 18.6%. The bank estimates that its total assets will grow by 26% this year annualized. As of March 31 this year, the total loan book was $1.91 billion, compared with $1.43 billion in March last year, a rise of 33.5%.
Banco Nacional’s total net profits for last year were $74.5 million and, between January and May this year, $42.2 million. The bank estimates its profits will grow by 20% this year. It has some 150 branches throughout Costa Rica.
One of its main initiatives, called Development Banking, has granted some $230 million in new loans to micro-businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises.