The National Bank of the Virgin Islands reported the highest percentage of non-performing loans for the first quarter of 2023, at 8.2 percent, Deputy Premier Lorna Smith said earlier this month in the House of Assembly. (Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

There were 530 non-performing loans across seven banks that operate in the territory as of the first quarter of the year, according to Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

She provided the information after Opposition Leader Ronnie Skelton asked her about the total “bad debt” in each bank during a question-and-answer session last week in the House of Assembly.

“There is no concept of bad debts in the banking industry,” replied Ms. Smith, who is also the minister of financial services, labour and trade. “In the banking industry, we call them non-performing loans.”

The total number of non-performing loans reported by the Financial Services Commission for the first quarter of 2023 came from seven institutions: Banco Popular, FirstBank Puerto Rico, First Caribbean International Bank, the National Bank of the VI, Republic Bank, VP Bank, and Bank of Asia, Ms. Smith said during the Sept. 5 HOA meeting. The National Bank of the VI — with assets of about $220 million — had the highest percentage of non-performing loans: 8.2 percent of a total of 1,367 loans, according to her figures.

Best record

The Bank of Asia fared the best, with no non-performing loans, but it had only nine total loans on its books and about $50 million in assets.

Republic Bank had the highest number of non-performing loans — 167 — but that only amounted to six percent because the bank also had the highest total, of 2,747 loans. Republic’s assets totalled about $435 million.

Asked for the total amount of money tied up in non-performing loans, Ms. Smith said she didn’t have that information on hand and that she would confer with the FSC. However, a recently published FSC statistical bulletin for Q1 2023 reported the total at $102,170,000. The bulletin also noted that non-performing loans accounted for 6.34 percent of total loans — down from 13.7 percent in Q4 2022 and 8.37 percent in Q1 2022.


A non-performing loan refers to a loan for which the borrower hasn’t paid the monthly principal and interest repayments for a specified period.

Typically, this term applies to loans that have been past due for more than 90 days.