Understanding the $31 Million Standing Between First Bancorp and Profitability

For Puerto Rican bank First Bancorp, there's a single line item holding back profitability

Jul 24, 2014 at 10:00AM

This is part two of a three-part series analyzing First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP). For part 1, click here.

What should an investor think when a bank's stock is down 36% during the past 12 months, it doesn't have profits, and it has a higher leverage ratio than its peers?

Run away? Not a bad idea.

Dig deeper and figure out why? A much better idea.

In the video below, Motley Fool contributor Jay Jenkins tries to it figure it out in part two of his analysis of First Bancorp, the $13 billion regional bank headquartered in Puerto Rico.

In the analysis, Jay breaks down the bank's revenues and profits (or lack thereof), and distills down to the single reason why the bank isn't producing more profits.

On the surface, First Bancorp seems pretty easy to understand. Over 90% of the bank's revenue comes from the interest the bank charges on loans. It's an age old business model; when done right, it works very very well for investors.

The bank simply needs to charge a decent spread on its loans, keep expenses in line, and then sit back and watch the profits roll in. That is, unless the money doesn't roll in. That's the problem today at First Bancorp.

The bank has an acceptable net interest margin and it's efficiency ratio is right on the money. But there's a $31 million barrier that's keeping the bank from profitability, and it's directly related to loans not being repaid on time.

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Jay Jenkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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