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Higher provision expenses dent Banco de Chile's Q4'16 profit

Banco de Chile posted fourth-quarter 2016 net income attributable to the bank's owners of about 124.03 billion Chilean pesos, down 11.5% from 140.10 billion pesos in the year-ago period, as the bank recorded lower net interest income and higher provision expenses.

The company's net interest income fell 2.1% year over year to 306.11 billion pesos, while net fees and commissions income declined 2.0% annually to 81.12 billion pesos.

The bank registered 87.28 billion pesos in provisions for loan losses in the final quarter of 2016, up 17.9% from 74.01 billion pesos a year earlier. Banco de Chile attributed this increase mainly to a net deterioration of 10.6 billion pesos in credit quality, driven by the retail banking segment, among other factors.

Total operating expenses for the Santiago-based lender reached 190.86 billion pesos in the fourth quarter of 2016, rising 1.6% from 187.95 billion pesos a year ago.

The bank's past-due loan ratio fell to 1.15% from 1.22% in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The company's full-year 2016 net income totaled 552.25 billion pesos, down about 1.2% from 559.00 billion pesos for full year 2015.

As of Jan. 30, US$1 was equivalent to 649.24 Chilean pesos.