First BanCorp. Announces Agreements to Sell $532 million of Unpaid Principal Balance in Classified a

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First BanCorp. Announces Agreements to Sell $532 million of Unpaid Principal Balance in Classified and Non-Performing Commercial Loans

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- First BanCorp. (the "Corporation") (NYS: FBP) , the bank holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico ("FirstBank" or "the Bank"), announced that the Bank has entered into three separate agreements to sell a total of $532 million of unpaid principal balance in commercial loans or $315 million of book value for a total price of $201 million, or 38 percent of unpaid principal balance. These transactions will result in a pre-tax loss net of reserves of approximately $65 million. At the completion of the transactions, FirstBank will reduce its nonperforming assets by approximately 23 percent or $282 million. FirstBank's pro-forma non-performing asset to total asset ratio as of December 31, 2012 decreases from 9.45 percent to 7.30 percent.

On March 28th, FirstBank completed the sale to Lone Star Funds of a portfolio of non-performing and classified commercial real estate loans, construction loans, and commercial loans with an unpaid principal balance of $378 million and book value of $216 million. The purchase price for the assets is equal to 31.8 percent of the unpaid principal balance of the loans, or $120 million in an all cash transaction. The transaction will result in a pre-tax loss, net of reserves, of approximately $60 million, including estimated transaction expenses.


FirstBank has also entered into two agreements, a Definitive Agreement and a Letter of Intent, with other third-party investors to sell an additional $154 million of unpaid principal balance and $99 million of book value in nonperforming commercial and construction loans, which could occur in the second quarter of 2013. The combined sales price for the two transactions under agreement is $81 million, or 52 percent of unpaid principal balance. These transactions will result in a pre-tax loss net of reserves of approximately $5 million.

"Through aggressive remediation, these transactions are a positive step as we work toward achieving our goal of substantially reducing problem assets. While there is an impact to earnings, these transactions greatly improve our credit risk profile," said First BanCorp.'s President and CEO Aurelio Alemán. "In addition to improving our risk profile and reducing expenses, these transactions will free up time for management to focus on growth opportunities."

About First BanCorp.

First BanCorp. is the parent corporation of FirstBank, a state-chartered commercial bank with operations in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida, and of FirstBank Insurance Agency. First BanCorp. and FirstBank operate within U.S. banking laws and regulations. The Corporation operates a total of 154 branches, stand-alone offices, and in-branch service centers throughout Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Florida. Among the subsidiaries of FirstBank are First Federal Finance Corp., a small loan company; FirstBank Puerto Rico Securities Corp., a broker-dealer subsidiary; First Management of Puerto Rico; and FirstMortgage, Inc., a mortgage origination company. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, FirstBank operates First Express, a small loan company. First BanCorp's Common Stock trades 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 performance. The words or phrases "expect," "anticipate," "look forward," "should," "believes" and similar expressions are meant to identify "forward-looking statements." The Corporation wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such "forward-looking statements," which speak only as of the date made, and to advise 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: uncertainty about whether the Corporation and FirstBank will be able 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 "Federal Reserve") and the order dated June 2, 2010 that FirstBank entered into with the FDIC and the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (the "FDIC Order") that, among other things, require FirstBank to maintain certain capital levels and reduce its special mention, classified, delinquent, and non-performing assets; the risk of being subject to possible additional regulatory actions; uncertainty as to the availability of certain funding sources, such as retail brokered CDs; the Corporation's reliance on brokered CDs and its ability to obtain, on a periodic basis, approval from the FDIC to issue brokered CDs to fund operations and provide liquidity in accordance with the terms of the FDIC Order; the risk of not being able to fulfill the Corporation's cash obligations or resume paying dividends to the Corporation's stockholders in the future due to the Corporation's inability to receive approval from the Federal Reserve to receive dividends from FirstBank or FirstBank's failure to generate sufficient cash flow to make a dividend payment to the Corporation; the strength or weakness of the real estate markets and of the consumer and commercial credit sectors and their impact on the credit quality of the Corporation's loans and other assets, including the Corporation's construction and commercial real estate loan portfolios, which have contributed and may continue to contribute to, among other things, the high levels of non-performing assets, charge-offs, and the provision expense and may subject the Corporation to further risk from loan defaults and foreclosures; 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 may reduce interest margins, impact funding sources, and affect demand for all of the Corporation's products and services and reduce the Corporation's revenues, earnings, and the value of the Corporation's assets; an adverse change in the Corporation's ability to attract new clients and retain existing ones; a decrease in demand for the Corporation's products and services and lower revenues and earnings because of the continued recession in Puerto Rico, the current fiscal problems, and budget deficit of the Puerto Rico government and recent credit downgrades of the Puerto Rico government; 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; uncertainty regarding the timing and final substance of any capital or liquidity standards, including the Final Basel III requirements and their implementation through rulemaking by the Federal Reserve, including anticipated requirements to hold higher levels of regulatory capital and liquidity and meet higher regulatory capital ratios as a result of Final Basel III or other capital or liquidity standards; uncertainty about the effectiveness of the various actions undertaken to stimulate the U.S. economy and stabilize the U.S. financial markets, and the impact such actions may have on the Corporation's business, financial condition and results of operations; changes in the fiscal and monetary policies and regulations of the federal government, including those determined by the Federal Reserve, 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 further 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 risks of not being able to recover the assets pledged to Lehman Brothers Special Financing, Inc.; the impact on the Corporation's results of operations and financial condition of acquisitions and disposition transactions; a need to recognize additional impairments on financial instruments, goodwill, or other intangible assets relating to acquisitions; the risks 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 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on the Corporation's businesses, business practices, and cost of operations; 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.



First BanCorp.
John B. Pelling III, 305-577-6000, ext. 162
Investor Relations Officer
john.pelling@firstbankpr.com

KEYWORDS:   Caribbean  Puerto Rico

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:

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