Chile banking profits fall in first half as economy slips

SANTIAGO Thu Aug 1, 2013 9:40am EDT

SANTIAGO Aug 1 (Reuters) - Profits in Chile's banking sector fell 4.47 percent in the January-to-June period from a year earlier to 802.14 billion pesos ($1.59 billion), as lower interest margins, spending on credit provisions and weakening economic activity hurt earnings.

However, loan provision spending was lower in June versus May, helping profits to rise 29.6 percent compared with that month, the SBIF banking regulator said on Thursday.

Total loans in the banking system expanded 9.1 percent in the period from a year before to 107.07 trillion pesos ($212.50 billion), the regulator added.

Santander Chile , the country's largest bank in terms of assets, posted a 167.58 billion Chilean peso ($332.6 million) profit in the period, while Banco de Chile, the largest by income, earned 243.33 billion pesos ($482.9 million), the regulator said.

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