2015 was marked by the consolidation and expansion of our current business and for the acquisition of new operators as well, a fact that led us to strengthen our distribution network, in order to keep on granting credit to less attended segments of the population.
Our credit portfolio expanded 27% without damaging the assets quality, since the past-due portfolio was 2.4%. Crédito Real, with a 38% capitalization index, remains as one of the best capitalized companies in the Mexican financial sector, which gives us a strong basis to continue with our expansion plans.
The efficiency index was placed in 36%, showing the consolidation effect for some of our associates. In terms of profitability, we ended the year with a 6% return of assets, a 22% return on capital and our income was placed in $1,371 million MXN.
During this year, we kept on taking advantage of our unique business model. Our distributors and trading partners played a key role, they provide the business knowledge and access channels to customers while Crédito Real provides the credit analysis, funding and the customer service platform. This combination of experience from both sides and the definition of joint targets, allows us to penetrate new markets successfully and reduce the learning curves.
In 2015, the Crédito Real family grew. We acquired 65% of the AFS Acceptance, a financial institution with valuable expertise in the used cars market in the United States, with license to operate in almost every State of the American Union. Through this association and our dealer Don Carro, we are creating the fundamental pillars to attend the Hispanic market in the United States. On the other hand, our commercial partner Drive & Cash, nowadays has presence in 20 states of the Mexican Republic through 63 branches; besides, we have 18 trading partners, with over 200 points of sale to promote our credit products for used cars. Crédito Real Autos is heading as an important growth factor for Crédito Real in the forthcoming years.
We also invested in a credit-repair business, leader in México, when acquiring 55% of the Resuelve Tu Deuda business (Resolve your Debt). This association, besides diversifying our income sources without any additional credit risk, will allow access to an important small business customers data base. Finally, we made and investment to acquire a minority position in a fintech company called Credilikeme, credit granting pioneers in an internet platform through social networks.
As for the payroll business subject, we continued strengthening our leadership within the public sector by growing 21% of our credit portfolio, mainly supported by the retired customers segment growth. Our three main distributors keep on getting outstanding results.
Regarding small business loans, we were able to double our portfolio and furthermore, we kept the quality of the assets. Small business loans now represent a quarter of the origination of Crédito Real, which contributes to drive diversification of our business lines.
Our group loans operators expanded their distribution network in 125 branches and 1,022 promoters, who served 164,579 customers. Along the year, they increased their portfolio in 52% with a nonperforming loan portfolio lower than 1%, which is compared favorably versus microcredit sector. We will continue seeking to partner with excellent operators, so in the long-term, we are able to consolidate as one of the main participants in this market.
During 2015 we faced a turbulence environment, including volatility of the exchange rate and a rise in the interest rates. Our exposition to the exchange rate is partially relieved due to our investments in the United States, since we own some assets in dollars. Concerning the exposure to rising interest rates, it is noted that approximately half of the Crédito Real debt is contracted on fixed interest rates, therefore, the impact in profitability caused by increase in interest rates is delimited.
Along 2015, we accomplished remarkable improvements in the funding cost, averaging 6.3%, which shows a substantial improvement versus the same indicator from last year. Furthermore, in 2015 we made the issuance of stock certificates in the largest local market we have made, by successfully placing one billion MXN with an important surplus demand, showing our investors trust.
This year was also characterized for the important efforts regarding the increase of visibility of our issuer. Crédito Real activity was incorporated to the FTSE Global Equity Small Cap and FTSE All Cap (LMS) indexes. We also took actions for the brand recognition. We will continue offering innovative financial solutions through a strong and flexible business platform. We appreciate the commitment of our collaborators, our customers preference, our distributors and strategic allies support, and our shareholders trust.
ANGEL ROMANOS BERRONDO
CRÉDITO REAL - CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER