Net fourth-quarter income for Banco Santander Puerto Rico, the second-biggest bank on the island after Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, jumped nearly 30%, to $23.5 million.

Results were boosted by a $5 million addition to earnings from the sale of certain residential mortgage servicing rights.

Net income for 1998 rose 4%, to $70.3 million.

The bank noted that net income for the year was set back by an increase of $24 million in provisions for loan losses as a result of higher net chargeoffs in its consumer loan portfolio. At least some of the chargeoffs were triggered by an increase in personal bankruptcies in Puerto Rico, the bank said in a release.

Total assets at yearend reached $7.2 billion, a 19.3% increase over the previous year. The bank noted that commercial loans accounted for the large growth in the loan portfolio, reaching $2.2 billion.

Income for the Madrid-based Santander Group, parent company of Banco Santander Puerto Rico, rose 28.5%, to $980 million.

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