Bank profits up

Listin Diario reports that bank profits from January to August 2001 were RD$1.9 billion, an 8.4% increase over the same period last year. This is considerably down from the 49% profit posted for the same period in 1999-2000. The decline in growth is attributed to the slowdown in the economy as a result of new taxes, which resulted in lower turnaround of money and a bank surplus of money to lend. According to the Superintendency of Banks, banks paid 130% more in taxes this year than last year. The report says that banks are concentrating on offering more profitable short term loans to individuals. 20% of loans were to individual consumers, 12.8% to the manufacturing sector and 4% to the farming sector. The bulk of bank lending was for commercial entities with RD$74 billion. RD$16 billion went to consumer lending and RD$1.2 billion to real estate transactions.