Bank of China (BOC) announced third-quarter profits of US$1.6 billion on the back of strong economic growth that boosted demand for corporate loans and high-end personal financial services such as credit cards, Bloomberg reported. Net income for the first nine months of 2006 was US$3.99 billion, at which point the bank had US$309.7 billion in loans on its books and as much as US$570 billion in deposits. Net interest income was US$4.11 billion and income from fees and commissions was US$410 million. It gave no comparable figures from 2005. BOC's share of the local currency lending market was 7.6% but it managed to capture 34.4% of the foreign currency market, over which it had a monopoly from 1949 until 1994. The bank's domestic-listed stock has risen 5.8% since its US$2.5 billion IPO in July but shares fell 1.2% Monday ahead of the results being announced. BOC expects profit growth of 27% this year while China Merchant's Bank expects to post a 47% gain.