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Santander Mexico posts 10.1% Q1 profit rise, taps new CFO

Grupo FinancieroSantander Mexico SAB de CV on April 27 posted a 10.1% rise in quarterlyprofit as stronger net interest income offset higher provisions expenses and announcedthat it had hired a new financial chief.

The Mexican unit of BancoSantander SA reported net income of 3.54 billion Mexican pesos for thefirst quarter of 2016, up from 3.22 billion pesos earned a year ago.

Net income per share came to 52 centavos for the quarter, upfrom 47 centavos in the year-ago period.

Separately, Santander Mexico said that it hired Didier Mena toserve as its CFO. Mena, who most recently was managing director at investment bankExeFin, will report to Pedro Moreno, Santander Mexico's vice president of administrationand finance.

For the first quarter, Santander Mexico's net interest incomegrew 17.9% year over year to 11.70 billion pesos. The bank's net interest marginfor the quarter was 4.86%, down slightly from 4.87% in the year-ago period. Netfee and commission income rose 9.4% annually to 3.61 billion pesos.

The bank's provisions for loan losses soared 27.9% to 4.71 billionpesos from 3.68 billion pesos a year earlier. Santander Mexico's nonperforming loanratio was 2.97% in the quarter, down from 3.68% a year ago.

Administrative and promotional expenses at the bank ticked up7.8% to 6.89 billion pesos from 6.39 billion pesos a year earlier.

Return on average equity was 12.3%, compared to 12.0% in thefirst quarter of 2015. Return on average assets fell to 1.2% from 1.3% a year earlier.

Total loans for the first quarter reached 543.25 billion pesos,14.4% higher than 474.74 billion pesos recorded in the year-ago period. In a statement,Executive President and CEO Héctor Grisi Checa highlighted the bank's "strongperformance" in consumer loans, which jumped 27% in the first quarter of 2016.

Grisi noted that the bank is focused on implementing strategiesthat will enable it to become the market leader in profitability and growth in Mexico,and reach its long term performance goals.

As of April 26, US$1 wasequivalent to 17.45 Mexican pesos.