* State-owned Caixa says Q4 profits surge 15.6 pct
* Caixa to ramp up disbursements 35 pct this year
* Loan delinquencies could rise in coming quarters
By Aluísio Alves
SAO PAULO, Feb 19 Caixa Econômica Federal,
Brazil's largest mortgage lender, is targeting a 35 percent
increase in loan disbursements this year, a sign that the
state-controlled bank will keep slashing lending rates to boost
The Brasilia-based lender earned 1.869 billion reais ($953
million) in the fourth quarter, about 15.6 percent more than the
same period a year earlier, Chief Executive Officer Jorge Hereda
said in a news conference. Caixa's loan book swelled 42 percent
to 353.7 billion reais, propelled by a surge in credit to
Hereda, speaking in São Paulo, said that "defaults could
increase a little as the share of commercial credit in our loan
mix rises - that type of credit has higher delinquency levels."
Caixa's loans in arrears for 90 days or more, an industry
benchmark for defaults, rose to 2.1 percent at the end of
December from 2 percent in September.
Provisions to cover bad loans rose 6.7 percent from the
fourth quarter of 2011 and 8 percent from the third quarter of
According to Chief Financial Officer Márcio Percival,
Caixa's target for lending growth in 2013 will allow it to boost
its market share to 18 percent from 15 percent currently.
The lender could sell five- or 10-year debt in international
bond markets this year to help bolster its capital base and fund
credit growth, Percival said. Any transaction could include the
offering of subordinated debt - which ranks blow senior
obligation in the order of repayment, he noted.
Return on equity, an industry gauge of profitability, fell
3.5 percentage points on an annual basis to 35.4 percent.