Honest bank of the day: Banco Popular

By Felix Salmon
October 19, 2009
press release reflects that. The headline is simply "Popular, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the Quarter and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2009" -- no crowing there. And the opening paragraph is sober indeed:

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Banco Popular’s earnings this morning were pretty bad, and its press release reflects that. The headline is simply “Popular, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the Quarter and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2009″ — no crowing there. And the opening paragraph is sober indeed:

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, October 19, 2009 – Popular, Inc. (“the Corporation”) (NASDAQ: BPOP) reported a net loss of $125.0 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, compared with a net loss of $183.2 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2009, and a net loss of $668.5 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2008. For the nine months ended September 30, 2009, the Corporation’s net loss totaled $360.7 million, compared to a net loss of $541.0 million for the same period in 2008.

This kind of straight-up honesty stands in stark contrast to, say, Citigroup, which desperately tries to spin a profit out of its loss-making quarter. Popular could have done the same thing: thanks to a series of preffered-share exchanges, it managed to rack up a hefty $596 million in net income applicable to common stock. As a result, this loss-making quarter for Banco Popular actually ended up with positive earnings per share of $1.40.

But Popular doesn’t dwell on that figure at all: its earnings report is straight-up and just-the-facts. Good for them; it would be great if bigger banks started following suit.

(HT: Zach Carter)

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