HSBC Americas, the rapidly expanding US arm of HSBC Holdings, says recent acquisitions contributed to a 34.1 per cent increase in net income for 1996 to US$380 million. Final-quarter profits jumped 61.3 per cent to $104 million. The bank said its purchase of Hang Seng Bank's two New York City branches, for $49.1 million, and of 11 East River Savings Bank branches in New York City and Long Island, added significantly to net interest income and asset growth. The bank said about 66 per cent of its increase in assets for the year, from $20.6 billion to $23.6 billion, was due to new acquisitions and that the added revenue 'combined with consistently strong margins' accounted for an 11.4 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net interest income to $256 million. Full-year net interest income was up 7.8 per cent to $962 million. The bank said that despite the incremental expenses flowing from the acquisitions, HSBC Americas recorded an overall 5.3 per cent reduction in operating expenses to $653 million. Cost-to-income ratios at the bank improved to 51 per cent from 57 per cent. Analysts expect further earnings improvement from the bank's $620 million purchase of First Federal Savings and Loan Association, and its newly completed purchase of the US-dollar clearing business of JP Morgan. The benefits of these deals are expected to be reflected in 1997 results. Loan-loss provisions for the year dropped to $64.8 million, down 63.1 per cent year-on-year from $175.3 million, while provisions for owned real estate and other owned asset losses fell 43.6 per cent to $3.4 million.