Country’s biggest private sector lender ICICI Bank on Friday reported 21.8 per cent growth in consolidated profit at Rs. 1,395 crore for the second quarter this fiscal on the back of a surge in corporate lending and reduction in bad loans.

The lender, which bought Bank of Rajasthan in August, had posted a net profit of Rs. 1,145-crore in the same period last fiscal.

Corporate loans grew 30 per cent, led by infrastructure financing and working capital advances, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar told journalists on a conference call.

The total advances of the bank grew by only 5.3 per cent to Rs. 1,94,201 crore as retail loans remained flat.

The flat growth in retail loans put an end to nine-month sliding in the segment after the bank’s started going slow on new advances in the aftermath of the global slowdown.

“For the last nine quarters, retail’s share had been declining and this is the first time that it has remained flat. From here on, the retail segment will grow,” Kochhar said.

In a sign of its loan-book getting healthier, provisions for bad debts decreased 40.2 per cent to Rs. 641-crore as against Rs. 1,071-crore in the year-ago period.

The net non-performing assets also decreased to 1.37 per cent against last year’s 2.19 per cent.

On a stand-alone basis, ICICI bank’s profit was up 18.8 per cent to Rs. 1,236-crore, the bank said in a statement.