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Itaú expects to take more provisions

Itaú Unibanco HoldingSA expects to continue increasing its loan loss provisions even as companyexecutives asserted that consumer and corporate defaults may have hit their peak.

During a conference call to discuss its first-quarter results,CFO Eduardo Mazzilli De Vassimon said that the company will have to see far strongersigns of a recovery in Brazil's economy before it pulls back on its provision expensing,Reuters reported May 4. During the firstquarter, Itaú booked 7.23 billion Brazilian reais in provisions forloan losses, up 31.1% from 5.52 billion reais a year ago. The bank's 90-day nonperformingloan ratio was 3.9% in the first quarter, rising from 3.0% in the year-ago period.

During the quarter, the Brazilian bank also shaved down its exposureto large corporate borrowers, according to a May 3 securities filing. Itaú's outstandingloans to its 10 biggest corporate borrowers fell to 33.08 billion reais as of March31 from 35.53 billion reais three months earlier. More broadly, loans to its 100largest corporate borrowers fell to 114.34 billion reais, or 22.3% of its totalloan book, from 123.66 billion reais, or 22.7%, at the end of 2015.

As of May 3, US$1 was equivalentto 3.57 Brazilian reais.