BUSINESS

Alpha Bank appears set to return to profit

TAGS: Banking

Alpha Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender by assets, pared its loss in the first quarter after booking sharply lower provisions for impaired loans.

Alpha, 11 percent-owned by the country’s bank rescue fund HFSF after its recapitalization late last year, reported a net loss of 2.2 million euros after a loss of 533 million euros in last year’s final quarter.

“After a remarkably challenging previous year, Alpha Bank returned to a profitable trajectory, mainly attributed to a decline in impairment costs,” chief executive Dimitris Mantzounis said in a statement on Tuesday.

Alpha expects improved access to capital markets after the European Central Bank starts accepting Greek government paper again as collateral for funding Greek lenders, he added.

Alpha Bank’s nonperforming credit – loans in arrears for more than 90 days – rose to 37.4 percent of its loan book at end-March from 36.8 percent at the end of December.

Provisions for bad debt fell 62 percent from the previous quarter to 255 million euros, while the cash coverage of the bank’s nonperforming loans rose to 70 percent.

[Reuters]

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