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Citigroup Mexico Unit Banamex 2Q Net Profit Slides 15% On Year

--Banamex results represent 11% of Citi's 2Q net profit --Drop in trading-activity income curbs bottom line --Bank grows deposits, loans to offset lower fees, interest rates By Amy Guthrie Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- Citigroup Inc.'s (C) Mexican unit Banamex said its second-quarter net profit fell 15% on the year to MXN4.49 billion pesos ($384 million) as sharply lower gains from positions in financial market securities cut into its bottom line. Still, the Mexican bank's net profit represents more than 11% of the $3.34 billion in net profit that Citigroup reported for the same period. Banamex approved payment last year of around $1.4 billion in dividends to Citigroup, its second dividend disbursement since the U.S. banking giant bought Banamex in 2001. Executives said Thursday that Banamex paid MXN8 billion of those dividends during the first six months of the year, which brought the Mexican bank's capitalization level down to around 18% from about 20%. The Mexican unit aims to distribute the remaining MXN8 billion at a pace that allows it to sustain its current capitalization ratio. The bank reported return on equity of 11.3% for the April-June period versus 6.4% in the first quarter and 12.7% in the second quarter of 2010. The main drag on the latest quarter's results came from market activity. Banamex booked net profit of MXN414 million from trading in the second quarter versus MXN2.87 billion in the year-ago period and a MXN1.40 billion trading loss in the first quarter. Javier Arrigunaga, head of the financial group, attributed Banamex's year-on-year decrease in trading gains to market volatility. "We have a bigger market position than some other banks," he said. Banamex, Mexico's second-biggest bank by assets and deposits, said growth in deposits and loans during the second quarter more than compensated for the impact of lower commissions and interest rates. The bank said its credit portfolio stood at MXN346 billion as of the end of June, up from MXN332 billion at the end of March and MXN340 billion a year earlier. Banamex said it experienced double-digit credit growth in areas such as personal loans and mortgages, while corporate financing slid 7% on the year as clients liquidated short-term debt. The bank said its nonperforming loan rate stood at 1.7%, flat on the year but up from 1.2% in the first quarter. Deposits rose 15% to MXN459 billion. -By Amy Guthrie, Dow Jones Newswires; (5255) 5980-5177;

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