Loans and leases for commercial banks in Puerto Rico totaled $34.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021. When compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, loans and leases decreased by about $511,084 million or 1.5%. Despite this, loans and leases for commercial banks increased within a one-year period. When compared to the first quarter of 2020, loans and leases increased by $441.3 million or 1.3%. This growth was mainly driven by and increase in Commercial, Agricultural, and Industrial loans. Commercial Industrials and Agricultural loans increased by $598 million when compared to the first quarter of 2020. This can be attributed in part to federal aid programs where selected loans issued by private banks are backed my government agencies, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
As expected, deposits increased dramatically amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The various lockdowns and economic restrictions implemented to combat the virus along with economic uncertainty made people spend less while receiving government stimuli. These factors helped propel deposits for commercial banks all the way up to $77.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021. When compared with the first quarter of 2020—when the COVID-19 pandemic started—deposits increased by $15.8 billion or 25.5%. When compared to the last quarter of 2020, deposits increased by $2.2 billion or 2.9%. This means that overall, the industry’s capacity for financing has increased dramatically within the last year. This is something that commercial banks could look forward to taking advantage of as the economy normalizes and demand for financing increases.