Best Bank: Banco del Pichincha
While Ecuador continues to hit the headlines because of the uncertainty surrounding the government’s willingness to service its debt, the country’s leading bank, Banco del Pichincha quietly continues to produce strong results. During 2006, the bank’s net income grew to $59.5 million compared with $40.2 million the previous year. One of the reasons for Pichincha’s success was an improvement in controlling costs. At the same time it grew its loan portfolio by 29%, which was the highest figure of any bank in the country. As a result, the bank has placed special emphasis on credit analysis and credit management processes in all market segments. Last year Pichincha increased its capital stock by $37 million. However, one note of disappointment was that the bank’s solvency rating stayed the same at 10.5% over the minimum regulatory level. The bank is rated AA+ by both Pacific Credit Rating and BankWatch Ratings.