Bancolombia SA, Colombia’s largest bank, expects credit to continue expanding at a fast pace in 2011, a factor likely to drive the bank’s results this year.
Carlos Yepes, Bancolombia’s chief executive, said in a conference call Tuesday that credit would likely grow 15% this year, continuing a trend that started in the second half of 2010.
The higher demand for loans boosted Bancolombia’s results in the last quarter of 2010. The bank reported a consolidated net income of COP429 billion ($227 million), a 16% increase from the same period a year earlier. The results were boosted by a 16% increase in net loans. “This growth confirms the improvement in credit demand” that started in 2010, the bank said in a statement.
Bancolombia’s net income for 2010 was COP1.4 trillion, 14% higher than in 2009. Bancolombia’s shares decline 0.36% Tuesday to COP27,580 while the benchmark IGBC index retreats 0.87% to 15149.26 points.
After a 0.8% expansion in 2009, the government estimates the economy rebounded last year and grew at least 4%. The central bank has highlighted that consumer credit and domestic demand have been the main factors driving economic growth in recent months.