Wing Lung Bank will forge ahead with its credit-card business, despite losing about HK$129 million last year on the high-risk consumer product. The bank unveiled its results yesterday and said its charge-off ratio for credit cards last year stood at 14.6 per cent - above the industry norm of 13.45 per cent. It compared with about 5.35 per cent in 2001. 'Most losses incurred on credit cards took place in August and September of last year . . . we expect the worst of the credit-card bad-debt situation to be over,' general manager Chung Che-sum said. About half of its HK$258 million in specific bad-debt provisions were credit card-related. Another 10 per cent, or about HK$25.8 million, was due to unsecured consumer loans. 'We aim for a moderate growth this year . . . we think that this is not a good time to expand aggressively but we consider this to be a valuable business [when the economy improves],' he said. The bank posted an 11.2 per cent decline in profits to HK$757.6 million. Loans rose slightly, by 3.7 per cent to HK$30 billion, boosted by an aggressive 13.2 per cent growth in mortgages, despite a weak property market and falling rates on new loans. Mortgage advances stood at HK$10.1 billion, making up 33.8 per cent of all loans. Mr Chung said yields on mortgages booked last year dropped by 0.28 per cent, due to pricing competition. The mortgage delinquency ratio was 'similar or slightly better than' the industry average of 1.06. The bank would seek to grow its business through insurance and wealth management products, he said. It aimed at boosting its non-interest income, which stood at HK$379.4 million - or 24.3 per cent of operating income - to 30 per cent within three years. Wing Lung shares rose 2.19 per cent yesterday to HK$30.30.