Bloomberg News

Bancolombia Falls Most in Four Months as Past-Due Loans Jump

May 10, 2012

Bancolombia SA (PFBCOLO), Colombia’s largest lender, dropped the most in four months after reporting an increase in past-due loans during the first quarter.

Preferred shares slumped 3 percent to 29,440 pesos at the close of trading in Bogota, the largest drop since Jan. 6. The percentage of outstanding loans more than 30 days overdue rose to 2.7 percent in the first quarter from 2.2 percent at the end of 2011, while those more than 90 days past due rose to 1.4 from 1.3 percent, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Past due loans “grew significantly,” said David Pelaez, an analyst at Bolsa y Renta brokerage in Medellin. “It may lead some to question how much more it will deteriorate.”

Net credit outstanding grew 20 percent from the same period last year, led by a 32 percent rise in consumer loans, according to the filing. The bank may pare lending to riskier borrowers after loosening standards in an effort to bolster market share, said Sergio Restrepo, executive vice president of corporate development at the Medellin-based bank.

“We do not expect these numbers to be the trend,” Restrepo said on a conference call with investors. “We have to balance if it’s worth returning again to more strict credit standards.”

Palaez said the company had adequate provisions to cope with a further increase in bad loans.

Consolidated first-quarter net income of 445.6 billion pesos ($252.6 million) trailed the 448.3 billion pesos average forecast of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Profit rose 27 percent from a year earlier. The bank forecast loan growth of 15 percent to 20 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Jenkins in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at

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