* AgBank Q4 profit rises 8.7 pct on year
* NIM falls to 2.25 pct in Q4 from 2.31 pct in Q2
* NPL ratio fell to 2.37 pct end-Dec from 2.39 pct end-Sept
SHANGHAI/BEIJING, March 28 Agricultural Bank of
China Ltd (AgBank), the country's
third-largest lender by assets, reported 8.7 percent profit
growth on Tuesday for the fourth quarter, boosted by higher fee
and commission income.
October-December profit was 29.77 billion yuan ($4.33
billion) versus 27.4 billion yuan a year earlier, and above an
average estimate of 21.5 billion yuan from 15 analysts polled by
Fee and commission income jumped 10 percent in 2016 to 90.9
AgBank's non-performing loan ratio (NPL) eased to 2.37
percent at end-December, from 2.39 percent at end-September.
But net interest margin was 2.25 percent at end-December
versus 2.31 percent at end-June, the eighth straight quarter in
which margins have been squeezed.
Full-year net profit rose 1.9 percent to 183.94 billion yuan
from 180.6 billion yuan in 2015.
The bank has recently come under pressure for compliance
failings after U.S. regulators fined it $215 million for
violating a state's anti-money laundering law.
($1 = 6.8800 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting By Engen Tham in Shanghai and Matthew Miller in
Beijing; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)