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Fitch keeps 2 Puerto Rican banks' ratings on negative watch

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Fitch keeps 2 Puerto Rican banks' ratings on negative watch

Fitch Ratings on Nov. 21 maintained Popular Inc. and First BanCorp. on Rating Watch Negative, as the damage from Hurricane Maria continues to create economic uncertainty.

The destruction to infrastructure and the undetermined conclusion of recovery efforts, among other things, could challenge the banks' asset quality and deposit funding metrics, according to the agency. The banks' higher capital ratios, meanwhile, are "prudent and supportive of ratings."

Fitch expects to resolve the negative watch within six months, as earnings reports and government updates "bring greater visibility."