This could be love. Oh, I know Banco Popular (NASDAQ:BPOP) had a rough quarter and missed estimates. But I'm mightily impressed with management's straight-shooting appraisal of its own performance. Having just pen-whipped Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) for management hyperbole, let's look at this parsed paragraph from the CEO in Popular's own earnings release today:

It's a tough year and it has been a lousy quarter. We can point to the flat yield curve, the economic environment and the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, our main market, but I consider these just excuses. . Our job is to produce results, irrespective of the economic environment we're in.

How do you not love that?

The CEO was right -- this was a pretty lousy quarter. Net income fell by more than 25% as the company faced single-digit declines in revenue and a double-digit increase in operating expenses. Although net interest income was up a bit before loan loss provisions, those losses moved the final tally to negative 2.3%; the company's net interest margin slid about 12 basis points from last year. Non-interest income was no help, either, falling more than 3%.

Turning to the balance sheet, we see loans up about 10% and total deposits up almost 3%, with interest-bearing deposits up around 6%. Unfortunately, the spread between loan rates and deposit payouts continues to move against the company. In addition, credit quality is still something of a concern, and the company continues to keep a significant position in brokered deposits.

Much as I like Popular management, I'm not keen on investing in Puerto Rico right now. The banking sector has been plagued by scandal (courtesy of the likes of Doral (NYSE:DRL) and First Bancorp (NYSE:FBP), among others), and the local economy is looking sickly at the moment. What's worse, while Popular pays a nice dividend by normal standards, plenty of banks ranging from Citigroup (NYSE:C) to TCF Financial (NYSE:TCB) to Lloyds (NYSE:LYG) pay good dividends, too.

Good (or at least honest) management is sadly a rarity, though, so I can't quibble with investors who want to just batten the hatches and stick by Popular. Just don't expect a dramatic overnight improvement in the business or its stock price.

For more financial Foolishness:

Banco Popular is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Lloyds is an Inside Value recommendation, while Doral is a former Inside Value pick.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).