Publication: El Salvador - Financial sector assessment

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World Bank
Despite the global and domestic shocks of 2008-2009, the banking sector remains sound. Salvadoran banks were not directly exposed to the global financial crisis. However, the parent banks of several major Salvadoran banks were and directed subsidiaries to conserve risk capital. The higher risk aversion and recession in the United States, combined with uncertainty about the 2009 elections, led to a sharp economic downturn, and a decline in both credit demand and supply. Banks' nonperforming loans increased and profitability declined. Even so, capitalization remained high. Stress tests indicate that most banks would be able to withstand large deposit withdraws and severe deterioration in credit quality arising from large macroeconomic or sectoral shocks. However, credit concentration risks appear significant. Regulated non-bank financial institutions do not pose significant risks, but pension funds' poor profitability is a concern for the long-term. Regulated cooperative banks and insurance companies report healthy financial indicators. Brokerage houses have reduced drastically their fund management activities, which until recently posed systemic risks due to inadequate regulations and unsound commercial practices. Pension funds have grown considerably and now amount to 25 percent of total financial sector assets. However, investments are mostly in low-yielding public sector securities. To ensure a sound financial footing for the pension system, an in-depth actuarial analysis should evaluate pension reform costs and calculate replacement rates. The type of investments available to pension funds should be expanded progressively to increase diversification, improve returns and foster capital markets.
World Bank. 2010. El Salvador - Financial sector assessment. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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