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Chilean bank profits fall 14.35% through November despite stronger loan growth

The Chilean banking sector's net profit in the first 11 months of 2016 reached 1.81 trillion Chilean pesos, banking regulator SBIF said in its monthly banking system update published Dec. 30.

The result was 14.35% lower compared to the same period a year ago, but SBIF reiterated that due to the merger between Banco Itaú Chile and CorpBanca, which closed April 1, to create Itaú CorpBanca, CorpBanca's first-quarter earnings are not included in the total sector profit, which means the 2016 figures are not entirely comparable with 2015.

In November, sector profits fell 51.66% from the previous month mainly due to lower net operating income and higher expenses on provisions, partly offset by higher net interest margins and lower taxes.

Bank lending, excluding loans by bank branches abroad, grew by 2.75% during the month, accelerating from 2.66% growth seen in October. The main reason was stronger growth in consumer loans, which showed real growth of 4.39% in November compared to a year ago, up from 3.67% growth in October.

Growth in commercial lending rose to 1.12% in November, excluding foreign branches, up from 0.82% growth in the previous month.

Mortgages, meanwhile, grew by 6.64% in November, down from 6.92% in October, as mortgage lending continued to gradually decelerate amid tighter lending conditions and economic uncertainty.

In terms of credit risk, the sector's ratio of loans overdue by 90 days or more to total loans was 1.89% in November, up from 1.84% in October, due to a moderate increase in the delinquency rate in all segments.

As of Dec. 29, US$1 was equivalent to 665.80 Chilean pesos.