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(Adds fee income, profitability and loan book growth)
SAO PAULO, July 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's largest private-sector lender, Itau Unibanco Holding SA, reported on Monday a 10.2% gain in second-quarter recurring profit to 7.034 billion reais ($1.86 billion), helped by loan book growth and trading gains.
Itau's recurring net income, which excludes one-time items such as hedges on foreign investments, was roughly in line with analysts' estimate of 6.977 billion reais, according to a Refinitiv consensus estimate.
Itau's results showed that while its client revenues are under pressure, they are still on a upward trend. The bank's fee income increased by 3.5% from the year-ago period, helped by its investment banking and asset management units.
The bank's net financial income came in at 18.4 billion reais, up 6.7% from the same period a year earlier.
In May, the bank had already lowered its targets for fee income and financial margins with clients in 2019, as it saw fiercer competition, especially in the card-processing business.
To compensate for that, the bank said it would tighten its belt. Operating expenses rose 3.3% from a year earlier and the bank sees it growing between 3% and 6% in 2019.
The bank's loan book grew by 2%, reaching 659.7 billion reais in the quarter, mainly boosted by loans for individuals and small companies.
Loans in arrears for more than 90 days stood at 2.9% of its portfolio in June, down 0.1 percentage point from March.
Loan-loss provisions grew by 12.3% from a year earlier, driven by higher provisions in loans for individuals.
Still, Itau's return on equity came in nearly in line with the previous quarter, at 23.5%.
Chief Executive Officer Candido Bracher will discuss Itau's second-quarter results with reporters and analysts on Tuesday morning.
($1 = 3.7814 reais) (Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Christian Plumb and Peter Cooney)