The strong squeeze on the cost of credit that the Banco de la República has been carrying out for more than a year and a half, raising its market intervention rate (today at 13.25 percent), is being felt with increasing intensity in the loans that banks grant to individuals and companies. The growth of the portfolio at the end of the third month of 2023 was only 1.3 percent real per year, being that of consumption the one that registers the worst performance in that period of the year with a negative behavior of 1.3 percent in real terms, the lowest rate in the last five years.

(Also read: According to Gilinski and the GEA, Bancolombia was put on the table)

The lack of dynamics in consumer loans in March was mainly explained by payroll loans that slowed down by 6.7 percent in real terms, warned the most recent report on the Colombian financial system released by the Financial Superintendence.

Another portfolio that contracted in the same period of the year was that of housing, which had an annual real 0.9 percent, which accentuated the deceleration registered the previous month. (-0.2 percent. For the surveillance period «this behavior is consistent with the correction of the effect of inflation, given that in nominal terms the housing modality grows 12.4 percent annually. Disbursements in March reached 1 8 trillion pesos, driven by the Non-VIS segment with 1.3 trillion. In VIS the balance reports real annual growth of 4.2 percent and in Non-VIS of -2.9 percent.»

(You may also be interested: Colombia enters a state of ‘urgency’ due to fewer natural gas reserves)

The Superfinanciera highlights in its monthly report that loans for the productive sector (commercial portfolio), although they slow down again by growing only 1.3 percent real per year, this portfolio will accumulate 17 consecutive months in positive territory.

Regarding microcredit, the portfolio of this segment completed 25 consecutive months of positive growth up to 1.4 percent real per year.

The surveillance entity also warned about the growth that the overdue consumer portfolio has been registering, that is, the one that is past due for more than 30 days. In the last year, delinquent debts increased by 1.4 trillion pesos, while its real annual growth marked a rate of 12 percent until March. Thus, the total jump in overdue debts added up to 29 trillion in the third month of the year.

The consumer portfolio is the one that registers the highest quality indicator, 6.7 percent. It means that for every 100 pesos lent by the entities, 6.7 pesos are in default. It is followed by microcredit whose quality indicator stood at 6.2 percent, commercial at 3.2 percent, and housing at 2.7 percent.

However, the default coverage indicator, calculated as the relationship between the balance of provisions and the overdue portfolio, stood at 139.3 percent (including PGA). This means that for every peso of the portfolio that is more than 30 days past due, credit institutions have close to 1.4 pesos to cover it, says the Superfinanciera.