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MARFIN POPULAR Bank (MPB), Piraeus Bank and Hellenic Bank all posted healthy increases in second quarter net profit, going some way towards mitigating the drop in their six-month results when compared to the same period last year – before the economic crisis began to bite.

MPB’s group net profit for the first six months of 2009 came to €90.3 million, 59.0 per cent lower than in the first half of 2008, with MPB making €123.6 million provisions for non-performing loans, three times higher than the same period last year.

Group net profit rose to €50.3 million for the second quarter, a 26.0 per cent increase compared to first quarter 2009, driven by significant improvement in operating income combined with cost containment. The group’s pre-provision profit increased 46.0 per cent compared to first quarter 2009, to €131.1 million.

Net interest income rose to €163.4 million in second-quarter 2009, 33.0 per cent higher on a sequential basis, as net interest margin improved significantly to 1.71 per cent in second-quarter 2009 from 1.35 per cent in first-quarter 2009. For the six-month period, net interest income stood at €286.0 million, 19.8 per cent lower compared with the same period last year.

MPB group has significant liquidity, with a loan-to-deposit ratio of 96.5 per cent. Total loans reached €24.1 billion, an annual increase of 14.0 per cent, while total deposits amounted to €24.9 billion, an annual increase of 5.0 per cent. Despite adverse economic conditions, total assets reached €42.0 billion, an annual increase of 21.0 per cent.

Piraeus Bank declared a net profit of €128 million for the first half of 2009, a 55.0 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year, due to €207 million provisions for non-performing loans, two and a half times higher than the same period last year.

Net profit for the second quarter rose to €76 million, a 48.0 per cent increase compared to first quarter 2009, as a result of an increase in revenues across the board. The bank’s pre-tax and provision profit for the first half increased to €368 million, a 16.0 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year, while second-quarter 2009 profit increased 48.0 per cent compared to first quarter 2009, mainly due to a strengthening of net interest income and financial results.

Net interest income rose to €272 million in second-quarter 2009, 7.0 per cent higher than the first quarter. For the six-month period, net interest income stood at €528 million, 5.0 per cent lower than the same period last year.

The bank’s total assets increased 5.0 per cent annually to €54 billion, with a loan-to-deposit ratio of 107.0 per cent.

Hellenic Bank posted a pre-tax profit of €8.9 million for the first half of 2009, a 84.3 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year, but a great improvement on the €11.8 million loss posted for first quarter 2009.

Total net income for the first half of 2009 fell by 16.0 percent compared to the same period last year, to €125.3 million from €149.7 million, mainly due to a fall in interest income and some non-interest income. The 8.0 per cent decrease in net interest income was mainly due to a fall in deposit interest margins and a low return on liquid foreign currency assets.

Total loans reached €5.0 billion, an annual increase of 8.0 per cent, while total deposits amounted to €6.7 billion, an annual increase of 7.0 per cent.

The bank’s loan-to-deposit ratio is 74.9 per cent, compared to 81.6 per cent in December 2008 and 74.5 per cent in June 2008.

The group’s strategic aims for 2009 are focused on: ensuring healthy liquidity; maintaining and adjusting the quality of its loan portfolio; safeguarding capital-liquidity ratios; and careful and rational growth with profitability as a permanent objective.

By Charles Charalambous, Cyprus Mail, August 28, 2009|||Banks post healthy profits for first six months
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