BOGOTA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Bancolombia raised its net profits to 1.88 trillion pesos ($778 million) in 2014, a 24 percent jump compared with the year before, on an increase in interest earnings and commissions, Colombia's largest bank by assets said in a statement.
Fourth quarter net profits were 487 billion pesos ($201.7 million), down 0.24 percent from the same period in 2013 but up 17.3 percent over the third quarter.
Operational net profits at Bancolombia climbed 48.1 percent last year, while its loan portfolio grew 16.5 percent, the bank said late on Tuesday.
"Though net profits were down slightly in the fourth quarter, it's important to highlight that it was due to non-operational areas which didn't mean an exit of cash, but a better amortization of commercial credit," brokerage Alianza Valores said.
"We think that the operational results were, in general terms, positive," the brokerage added.
Between October and December last year, operational income was up 15.7 percent, while the net loan portfolio was up 11.1 percent, Bancolombia said.
"The factors that contributed to this success were an increase in loan portfolios, the expansion of the net margin of interest and larger volumes of transactions," the bank said.
Bancolombia, controlled by industrial conglomerate Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno (GEA), has more than 9 million clients and operates subsidiaries in El Salvador, Panama, the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico.
$1 = 2,416.37 Colombian pesos Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Andrew Hay