Colombian banks boosted their combined earnings by 13.3% to 2.62tn pesos (US$1.47bn) in January-April compared to the same period in 2010, on robust loan portfolio growth, according to figures released by financial services regulator Superfinanciera.
Locally owned banks saw earnings rise 14.9% to 1.68tn pesos. The country's largest bank, Bancolombia (NYSE: CIB), increased profits by 13.2% to 551bn pesos, followed by Banco de Bogotá, which saw 335bn pesos in earnings, up 10.6% in the same comparison.
Foreign-owned banks' profits dropped 22.9% to 130bn pesos, mainly dragged down by strong losses at the local unit of HSBC (NYSE: HBC).
Investment banks and foreign banks' representative offices accounted for the remaining earnings. Corficolombiana stood out in that crowd with a 62.2% profit increase in January-April.
Banking sector lending increased by 21.7% to 187tn pesos as of end-April, compared to the same time last year.
Corporate lending grew 22.9% to 117tn pesos, and consumer loans rose 21.3% to 51.3tn pesos.
The sector's non-performing loan ratio improved significantly to 3.5% at the end of April, from 5.0% at end-April 2010, but worsened from 3.4% the month prior.
Colombian banks had 288tn pesos in assets and 40.9tn pesos in equity as of April 30.