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Fourth quarter 2010 Net Income (*) amounted to $15.5 million, an increase of $0.5 million, or 4%, compared to third quarter 2010, and an increase of $3.6 million, or 30%, compared to fourth quarter 2009.

Net income in 2010 amounted to $42.2 million compared to $54.9 million in 2009, as the strong performance of the Commercial Division was mostly offset by second quarter losses in the Asset Management Unit.

The Commercial Portfolio grew $292 million, or 7% versus the previous quarter and $1.3 billion, or 43%, year-on-year to reach balances of $4.4 billion. Fourth quarter 2010 credit disbursements amounted to $2.2 billion, compared to the $2.3 billion in the third quarter. 2010 disbursements reached $7.4 billion, up $3.2 billion, or 79%, from 2009.

On a year-on-year-basis, fees and commissions grew 53%, amounting to $10.3 million.

Net interest income in the fourth quarter 2010 was $21.0 million, a $1.0 million, or 5%, increase over the previous period and a $5.8 million, or 38% increase over the fourth quarter 2009. Net interest income in 2010 amounted to $74.5 million, a 15% increase from 2009. Net interest margin increased to 1.70% in 2010 from 1.62% in 2009. Average funding costs declined 112bps compared to 2009.

The Commercial Division's Net Income for 2010 increased $22.0 million (+63%) to $56.8 million versus $34.8 million in 2009, mainly as a result of portfolio growth and improved credit quality. The Division's Net Income in the fourth quarter 2010 totaled $14.9 million, a 7% increase over the previous quarter, and a 25% increase over the fourth quarter 2009.

The Treasury Division reported a 2010 Net Loss of $4.9 million, compared to Net Income of $6.1 million in 2009, driven by losses from trading portfolio valuations, as increases in securities valuations were offset by the diminished valuations of associated trading derivatives used to hedge interest rate risk.

The Asset Management Unit reported a Net Loss of $9.7 million in 2010, compared to Net Income of $14.1 million in 2009 as the result of trading losses in Bladex Capital Growth Fund (BCGF, the Investment Fund) incurred mostly during the second quarter. The Bank will gradually reduce its exposure to BCGF to its original $100 million investment, freeing close to $50 million to be used to fund more fee generating activities.

Portfolio quality improved year-on-year as credit risks abated throughout the Region, and as non-accrual loans declined to $29.0 million in the fourth quarter 2010, down from $32.9 million in the previous quarter, and from $50.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Scale efficiencies improved in 2010, with expenses growing $3.9 million, or 10% year-on-year, to $42.1 million, well below the commercial portfolio's 43% growth, as the Bank invested in commercial and risk management resources.

The Bank's equity consists entirely of common stock equity. The Bank's Tier 1 capital ratio as of December 31, 2010 stood at 20.5%, compared to 20.6% as of September 30, 2010, and 25.8% as of December 31, 2009, while the leverage ratio as of these dates was 7.3x, 7.1x, and 5.7x, respectively.
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