UPDATE 1-Mexico's Banorte says 1st-qtr profit rises 16 pct

Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:52pm EDT

(adds details on bad loans)

MEXICO CITY, April 24 (Reuters) - Mexico's fourth-largest bank by assets, Grupo Financiero Banorte, on Thursday said its first-quarter profit rose 16 percent as it added bank accounts and increased lending even as bad loans rose.

The bank's quarterly profit rose to 3.628 billion pesos ($278 million) in the January-March period.

Banorte said its loan book - not including bad loans - grew 6 percent from the year earlier to 427.6 billion pesos.

Bad loans increased to 13.15 billion pesos, up 52 percent from the year earlier, reflecting loans to Mexico's three main homebuilders that have gone unpaid as the companies try to restructure.

Banorte shares closed down 0.8 percent at 84.63 pesos before the bank reported its results.

($1 = 13.06 pesos at end March) (Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by Andrew Hay)

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