Wilshire Bancorp Inc. reported lower profit in its fourth quarter, as the bank holding company increased its credit loss provision to cover anticipated problem loans and defaults.

The Los Angeles parent of Wilshire State Bank said late Monday it had net income of $5.1 million (17 cents per share), compared with $5.5 million (19 cents) a year ago. Net interest income increased 3 percent to $21.1 million. Total assets rose 12 percent to $2.45 billion.

A comprehensive loan review during the quarter prompted the bank to increase the total value of loans classified as "substandard" to $92.6 million, compared with $69.2 million at the end of the third quarter. The bank, which targets the Korean-American and other immigrant communities, increased its provision for loan losses to 1.43 percent of total loan volume, compared with 1.28 percent at the end of the third quarter.

"Our prudent credit loss provision during the current quarter, and the strong capital level at the end of the current quarter reflect our commitment to run our operation conservatively and confront challenges directly in this unstable economic environment,'' said Chief Executive Joanne Kim in a statement.

For the full fiscal year, net income was $26.5 million (90 cents), compared with $26.8 million (91 cents) in 2007.

Wilshire shares were down 35 cents, or 5 percent, to $6.71 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.

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