Brazil's Itau Unibanco bank said Tuesday that first-quarter profits slumped 4 percent as the global meltdown virtually froze demand for loans in Latin America's largest economy.
Itau Unibanco Banco Multiplo SA said profit for the January to March period was 2.6 billion reals ($1.2 billion) _ down from 2.7 billion reals during the same period last year.
The global financial crisis sharply reduced growth for the loan and financing portfolios of Brazil's largest private sector bank, Itau Unibanco said in a statement. Revenue figures for the quarter were not available.
Itau Unibanco was formed this year with the merger of Banco Itau Holdings Financeira SA and Unibanco-Uniao de Bancos Brasileiros SA.
It surpassed Bradesco SA in assets to become the largest private sector Brazilian bank.
Itau Unibanco estimated its year-ago earnings even though the merger had not taken place at that time.