The rating agency Fitch Ratings reaffirmed the long-term rating that in February it had given the National Bank of Panama (Banconal) of BBB- with a negative outlook, driven by the downgrading of the note granted to the country's sovereign debt.
From New York, Fitch Ratings affirmed the international issuer risk ratings of the National Bank of Panama (Banconal) and its senior unsecured debt issues at BBB- The outlook for the issuer's long-term rating is negative, the agency said in a statement.
Fitch's opinion is supported by the systemic importance of the bank and the structure of liabilities, since Banconal owns about 83.7% of the deposits related to the Government in the banking system as of December 2020.
In addition to its universal banking services, the role of Banconal has been strengthened in the midst of the pandemic and in the absence of a central bank in Panama, establishing, together with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, a fund of $ 1,000 million for possible liquidity requirements and needs of financing derived by Covid
Fitch expects Banconal to maintain its good quality metrics for its loan portfolios, given that the bank began the crisis with low levels of overdue loans, limited exposure to the economic segments most affected by the pandemic and a low concentration of debtors.
The rating agency expects the bank's profitability at the end of 2021 to remain below pre-pandemic levels, with an operating profit of 3.1% on average, although at levels higher than the 2.3% reported in December 2020.