First BanCorp. Announces Sale of PREPA Loan

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--()--First BanCorp. (the “Corporation”) (NYSE: FBP), announced today that its subsidiary, FirstBank Puerto Rico, sold on March 10, 2017 its outstanding participation in a line of credit to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), reducing its direct exposure to Puerto Rico government related credits. Gross proceeds from the sale have resulted in a slight incremental loss of approximately $570 thousand as compared to the adjusted book balance, net of reserves.

Aurelio Alemán, President and Chief Executive Officer of First BanCorp., commented: “We made the determination to prudently reduce our direct exposure to the Puerto Rico government. This sale reduces our year end NPAs by approximately 9%. Credit quality improvement remains a top priority for our team and this transaction contributes to our continuing efforts.”

About First BanCorp.

First BanCorp. is the parent corporation of FirstBank Puerto Rico, a state-chartered commercial bank with operations in Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Florida, and of FirstBank Insurance Agency. Among the subsidiaries of FirstBank Puerto Rico are First Federal Finance Corp. and First Express, both small loan companies, and FirstBank Puerto Rico Securities, a broker-dealer subsidiary. First BanCorp’s shares of common stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FBP.”

Safe Harbor

This press release may contain “forward-looking statements” concerning the Corporation’s future economic, operational and financial performance. The words or phrases “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “look forward,” “should,” “would,” “believes” and similar expressions are meant to identify “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are subject to the safe harbor created by such sections. The Corporation cautions readers not to place undue reliance on any such “forward-looking statements,” which speak only as of the date made, and advises readers that various factors, including, but not limited to, the following could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by such forward-looking statements: the ability of the Puerto Rico government or any of its public corporations or other instrumentalities to repay its respective debt obligations, including as a result of payment defaults on the Puerto Rico government general obligations, bonds of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico and certain bonds of government public corporations, and recent and any future downgrades of the long-term and short-term debt ratings of the Puerto Rico government, which could exacerbate Puerto Rico’s adverse economic conditions and, in turn, further adversely impact the Corporation; uncertainty as to the ultimate outcomes of actions resulting from the enactment by the U.S. government of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) to address Puerto Rico’s financial problems; uncertainty about whether the Corporation will be able to continue to fully comply with the written agreement dated June 3, 2010 that the Corporation entered into with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the “New York Fed”), that, among other things, requires the Corporation to serve as a source of strength to FirstBank and that, except with the consent generally of the New York Fed and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve Board”), prohibits the Corporation from paying dividends to stockholders or receiving dividends from FirstBank, making payments on trust preferred securities or subordinated debt and incurring, increasing or guaranteeing debt or repurchasing any capital securities and uncertainty whether such consent will be provided for future interest payments on the subordinated debt despite the consents that enabled the Corporation to pay all the accrued but deferred interest payments plus the interest for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2016 on the Corporation’s subordinated debentures associated with its trust preferred securities, and for future monthly dividend on its non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock, despite the consent that enabled the Corporation to pay monthly dividends on its non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock for December and January; a decrease in demand for the Corporation’s products and services and lower revenues and earnings because of the continued recession in Puerto Rico; uncertainty as to the availability of certain funding sources, such as brokered CDs; the Corporation’s reliance on brokered CDs to fund operations and provide liquidity; the risk of not being able to fulfill the Corporation’s cash obligations or resume paying dividends to the Corporation’s common stockholders in the future due to the Corporation’s need to receive approval from the New York Fed, the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico to declare or pay any dividends and to take dividends or any other form of payment representing a reduction in capital from FirstBank or FirstBank’s failure to generate sufficient cash flow to make a dividend payment to the Corporation; the weakness of the real estate markets and of the consumer and commercial sectors and their impact on the credit quality of the Corporation’s loans and other assets, which have contributed and may continue to contribute to, among other things, high levels of non-performing assets, charge-offs and provisions for loan and lease losses and may subject the Corporation to further risk from loan defaults and foreclosures; the ability of FirstBank to realize the benefits of its deferred tax assets subject to the remaining valuation allowance; adverse changes in general economic conditions in Puerto Rico, the U.S., and the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, including the interest rate environment, market liquidity, housing absorption rates, real estate prices, and disruptions in the U.S. capital markets, which reduced interest margins and affected funding sources, and has affected demand for all of the Corporation’s products and services and reduced the Corporation’s revenues and earnings, and the value of the Corporation’s assets, and may continue to have these effects; an adverse change in the Corporation’s ability to attract new clients and retain existing ones; the risk that additional portions of the unrealized losses in the Corporation’s investment portfolio are determined to be other-than-temporary, including additional impairments on the Puerto Rico government’s obligations; uncertainty about regulatory and legislative changes for financial services companies in Puerto Rico, the U.S., and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, which could affect the Corporation’s financial condition or performance and could cause the Corporation’s actual results for future periods to differ materially from prior results and anticipated or projected results; changes in the fiscal and monetary policies and regulations of the U.S. federal government and the Puerto Rico and other governments, including those determined by the Federal Reserve Board, the New York Fed, the FDIC, government-sponsored housing agencies, and regulators in Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands; the risk of possible failure or circumvention of controls and procedures and the risk that the Corporation’s risk management policies may not be adequate; the risk that the FDIC may increase the deposit insurance premium and/or require special assessments to replenish its insurance fund, causing an additional increase in the Corporation’s non-interest expenses; the impact on the Corporation’s results of operations and financial condition of acquisitions and dispositions; a need to recognize additional impairments on the Corporation’s financial instruments, goodwill or other intangible assets relating to acquisitions; the risk that downgrades in the credit ratings of the Corporation’s long-term senior debt will adversely affect the Corporation’s ability to access necessary external funds; the impact on the Corporation’s businesses, business practices and results of operations of a potential higher interest rate environment; and general competitive factors and industry consolidation. The Corporation does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update any “forward-looking statements” to reflect occurrences or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements, except as required by the federal securities laws.

Contacts

First BanCorp.
John B. Pelling III, 787-729-8003
Investor Relations Officer
john.pelling@firstbankpr.com

Contacts

First BanCorp.
John B. Pelling III, 787-729-8003
Investor Relations Officer
john.pelling@firstbankpr.com