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SBIF: Chilean bank system net income falls 12.6% in 2016

Chilean banks saw total net income fall by 12.6% year over year in 2016, largely due to lower interest income and a sharp drop in net foreign exchange revenue, SBIF data released Jan. 31 showed.

Banking system income in 2016 totaled 1.965 trillion pesos, down from 2.186 trillion pesos a year earlier. During 2016, net foreign exchange revenue fell 62% to 365.96 billion pesos, while net interest income slipped 1.9% year over year to 6.207 trillion pesos.

The merger between Itaú Chile and CorpBanca, which created Itaú CorpBanca, impacted the comparability of 2016 and 2015 figures to a certain degree, SBIF noted.

Despite the large year-over-year drop, net income in the banking system picked up during December 2016, jumping 109.4% month over month, SBIF said. The better results in December 2016 were mainly due to "lower spending on supplies and an increase in net commissions and financial operations results, which were offset by higher support costs and a lower interest margin," the regulator noted.

Loan growth across Chile's banking system hit 2.66% for the year in real terms and 2.84% on an adjusted basis, SBIF said. Nonperforming loans more than 90 days past due ticked down to 1.85% of all loans at year-end 2016 from 1.89% a month earlier and 1.86% a year ago.

As of Jan. 31, US$1 was equivalent to 644.95 Chilean pesos.