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Peru Banco Credito sees ’09 loans lower on crisis

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Reuters

Banco de Credito (CRE.LM), Peru’s largest bank, said on Friday it expects its loan portfolio to grow between 15 percent and 20 percent this year, less than previously predicted, because of a slower Peruvian economy.

The bank’s loans portfolio grew 27 percent last year, when the economy surged 9 percent. This year, most analysts predict economic growth will ease to 5 percent, as prices for Peru’s metal exports plummet on the global financial crisis.

"The original prediction we made for this year put loan growth at 20 percent, but now we expect it to be lower than that, somewhere between 15 and 20 percent," Banco de Credito’s Chief Executive Walter Bayly told reporters.

Banco de Credito is the main unit of Credicorp (BAP.N) (BAP.LM), Peru’s largest financial holding company, which reported an 86 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit this week, citing turbulent markets and exposure to fraud by accused U.S. financier Bernard Madoff.

Credicorp, which has a 97.3 percent stake in Banco de Credito, took a $43.5 million provision for investments that one of its units had with Madoff, who is accused of running a $50 billion pyramid scheme.

Bayly stressed the provision taken was sufficient and that the company does not foresee more charges related to the case.

"We do not expect any further impact in our financial statement," he said.

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