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Popular's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Please turn to slide 3 for greater detail on the quarter’s main takeaways. The improvement in our credit metrics is quite evident. NPL commercial and construction inflows fell 63% from their peak to their lowest level in four years. The net charge ratio fell to 1.85% in Puerto Rico and to 2.15% in the U.S. Opportunistic portfolio acquisitions and another quarter of solid loan production by our Puerto Rico mortgage business, which originated $397 million in the quarter helped maintain our non-covered loan volume at $21 billion with a yield of 6%.

We continue exploring every opportunity to further reduce our cost base by streamlining our origination processes, lowering branch network expenses, and tackling inefficiencies in areas we have identified. However, our focus on accelerating the resolution on NPLs has increased costs associated with these benefits, legal fees, appraisals, collections, valuation adjustments among others. Meaningful reductions in these expenses will only be achieved through sustained improvements in NPL levels.

Credit quality improvements have already provided palpable results at our U.S. operations, where the current run rate for the provision it’s 40% lower than last year’s. Although earnings on U.S. mainland are still not at an acceptable level, the U.S. operations are contributing to our overall profitability.

Consolidated personnel costs decreased by $5 million in the quarter. We also paid off $350 million in expensive repos rebuilt that were scheduled to mature in 2014 and carried an average cost of 4.36%. The prepayment expense of $25 million will be recovered over the two year period by replacing the borrowings at substantially lower current market risks.

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