SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) — South Korean savings banks reported 14.5 percent growth in their combined net profit for the first half of this year from a year earlier due to a sharp hike in interest income, data showed Monday.

The combined net income of the 79 savings banks stood at 684 billion won (US$576 million) for the January-June period, compared with a profit of 597.6 billion won a year earlier, according to the data by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

Their interest income rose 9.5 percent on-year to 3.2 trillion won, while loan-loss provisions increased 6.9 percent on-year to 712.2 billion won.

Their loan delinquency ratio came to 3.7 percent, unchanged from the end of December, according to the data.

The average capital adequacy ratio of the savings banks reached 14.86 percent at the end of June, up 0.03 percentage point from six months earlier.

A key barometer of financial health, the ratio measures the proportion of a bank’s total capital to its risk-weighted assets. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), an international organization of central banks based in Basel, Switzerland, advises lenders to maintain a ratio of 8 percent or higher.