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Argentina's Banco Frances Second-Quarter Net Rises 68% to ARS330.9 Million

By Ken Parks BUENOS AIRES--Argentine bank BBVA Banco Frances SA (BFR, FRAN.BA) said Friday that its second-quarter net profit rose 68% on the year due to a big increase in lending revenue. Net profit rose to 330.9 million pesos ($71.9 million), or ARS0.62 per local share, from ARS197 million, or ARS0.37 per share, in the second quarter last year, the bank said in a filing with the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange. Banco Frances's net financial margin--the difference between what the bank pays on its deposits and earns on its loans and securities holdings--soared 75% to ARS916.7 million due to an increase in lending and higher margins on loans. Net fee income rose 28% to ARS438 million. The bank's operating result swelled 82% on the year to ARS616 million. Banco Frances said its deposit base rose 15% on the year, to ARS30 billion at the end of June. Loans to the private sector, which represent the bulk of the bank's overall credit portfolio, increased 29% on the year, to ARS23.7 billion at the end of June, led by gains in commercial, auto and consumer loans. Asset quality as measured by non-performing loans as a percentage of total loans was 0.7% in the quarter, up from 0.5% a year ago. Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA, BBVA.MC) owns a controlling interest in Banco Frances, which operates a network of 270 branches and 656 ATMs. Shares of Banco Frances were recently trading 2.1% lower at ARS11.55 in Buenos Aires -Write to Ken Parks at ken.parks@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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