WILMINGTON, Del. - Beneficial Corp. said its second-quarter earnings rose 14% from the level of a year ago, to $43 million.

Earnings per share increased 8%, to $1.60 from $1.48 in the 1991 period.

For the first half, operating earnings increased to $85.8 million from $72.6 million. Factoring in an extraordinary charge in the first quarter, net income increased 14% to $82.7 million.

Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman and chief executive officer of the $10 billion-asset finance company, said lending spreads remained wide and chargeoffs improved. Receivables growth was "somewhat disappointing" but bolstered by acquisitions.

"Unfortunately, profits of our tax refund anticipation loan business were significantly lower in the quarter and the half, reflecting well-publicized problems with the operation of the IRS |lien screen' computer program as well as some increase in fraud losses," Mr. Caspersen said.

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