SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) — South Korean savings banks reported a 19.4 percent rise in their combined net profit in the first quarter due to increased interest income, data showed Monday.

The combined net income of the 79 savings banks stood at 246.3 billion won (US$199 million) for the January-March quarter, compared with a profit of 206.3 billion won a year earlier, according to the data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

Their interest income rose 14.2 percent on-year to 1.2 trillion won, while loan-loss provisions gained 12.9 percent on-year to 502.2 billion won.’

Their loan delinquency ratio came to 4 percent at the end of March, down from 4.5 percent from the same period last year, according to the data.

The combined assets of the savings banks came to 78.1 trillion won at the end of March, up from 70.1 trillion won from a year earlier, according to the data.

The average capital adequacy ratio of the savings banks reached 14.83 percent at the end of March, compared with 14.53 percent from a year 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.