San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Banco Nacional Starts Lending State Money

Just two weeks after the government granted three state banks $117.5 million to fortify their liquidity, at least one has already begun loaning.

In December, the Legislative Assembly ratified the assistance package pushed by President Oscar Arias and the Finance Ministry.

On Tuesday, Violeta Fernández, Banco Nacional spokeswoman, said the institution, which received $50 million in the aid package, would be directing ¢917 billion (about $1.7 billion) in credit this year.

During the first four days of January, Banco Nacional was able to place more than ¢3 billion (about $5.5 million) into various sectors. About ¢1 billion ($1.8 million) was loaned to small and medium-sized companies, ¢73 million ($133,000) went toward mortgages, about ¢2 billion ($3.6 million) was loaned to the business sector, and about ¢29 million ($53,000) was sent to the rural sector.

Regarding a possible reinforcing of the variability of liquidity to its customers, Fernández said the bank has its credit lines open for the public under normal conditions.

Fernández said that during 2008, Banco Nacional did not experience any problems concerning liquidity although it did take in the advice from monetary authorities concerning some credit restrictions.

The other banks did not return phone calls to The Tico Times by press time.

–Vanessa I. Garnica


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