NPL ratio edged up in February: FSC

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 12

The banking sector’s asset quality deteriorated slightly in February, with the non-performing loan (NPL) ratio edging up 0.04 percentage points month-on-month to 1.61 percent, Financial Supervisory Commission data showed yesterday.

Bad loans by the nation’s 37 banks totaled NT$293.5 billion (US$8.65 billion) at the end of February — an increase of NT$3.9 billion from January, the commission’s data showed.

Twenty-seven of the 37 banks had an NPL ratio of less than 2.5 percent, while nine had NPL ratios of between 2.5 percent and 5 percent. Chinfon Commercial Bank (慶豐銀行) topped the list again with an NPL ratio of 35.83 percent at the end of February although all of its bad loans under the government’s custody had been sold off to private asset management firms last week.

“The banking sector’s asset quality was relatively stable last month,” Lin Tung-liang (林棟樑), deputy director of the banking bureau, told a media briefing yesterday.

However, the recent export slump has dragged down the demand for loans among local businesses, he said.

Outstanding loans granted by the 37 banks dropped by NT$170 billion month-on-month to NT$18.24 trillion in February, the commission’s data showed. Of the total, 68.97 percent of the loans were covered by banks’ provisions as of the end of February, down from 69.96 percent as of the end of January, the data showed.