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' ICICI Bank Ltd., India's second-largest bank by assets, Friday beat market expectations with a 30% jump in its second-quarter standalone net profit.

Strong demand for retail loans helped push ICICI's net profit for the July-September period to 19.56 billion rupees ($365 million) from 15.03 billion rupees a year earlier.

The lender, which is listed in India and New York, relied more on individuals, who continued to borrow for new homes and vehicles.

Demand for loans from companies for new projects was, however, weak as sluggish economic growth forced many to be wary.

"Today, even if there is a little bit of a slowdown in investment activity, [retail] consumption continues to grow," Chanda Kochhar, ICICI's chief executive and managing director, said in an earnings call.

Retail demand and loans to companies for working capital and for existing projects will likely help ICICI post 20% growth in loans in this financial year through March 2013, said Ms. Kochhar.

The bank's loan book at the end of September was 2.75 trillion rupees, up 18% from a year earlier.

The strong growth helped ICICI's net interest income--the equivalent of revenue for companies in other businesses--jump 35% to 33.71 billion rupees.

The net interest margin, or NIM, is broadly the difference between the yield on loans and the cost of funds. For ICICI, the NIM improved to 3.0% from 2.61% a year earlier.

ICICI's other income--including fees, commissions, treasury and foreign exchange transactions--climbed 17% to 20.43 billion rupees, largely due to dividend income from subsidiaries.

Net bad loans were 0.78% of total loans, compared with 0.93% a year earlier.

Provisions against bad loans and other contingencies jumped 59% to 5.08 billion rupees.

A large part of the provisions was for a 5 billion rupee loan to a media company, ICICI said.'
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