SAN JUAN, P.R. - Net earnings for 1994 at Banponce Corp. were up 14%, to $124.7 million from $109.3 million, the San Juan-based bank reported.

Fourth-quarter net earnings rose to $32.6 million, from $28.2 million a year earlier.

Earnings per common share at the $12.8 billion-asset bank rose to $3.67 for 1994, from $3.35, while return on assets stood at 1.02% and return on common equity at 13.8%.

The increase in earnings stemmed mainly from 23% growth in loans, more profitable U.S. operations, and a significant decrease in credit losses, the bank said.

Lending by the bank rose $1.5 billion, mostly through increases in mortgages and commercial loans. The lending helped fuel a $41.4 million increase in net interest income, even though net interest yields for the year fell to 4.68% from 4.97% in 1993.

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