Piraeus Bank, Greece’s largest lender by assets, tumbled to a fourth-quarter loss after booking higher bad debt provisions, the only one of the country’s big four banks that was not profitable in the last three months of 2016.
Piraeus, which is 26.2 percent owned by the country’s bank rescue fund HFSF, reported on Friday a net loss of 18 million euros after net profit of 31 million euros in the third quarter.
For 2016 as a whole, Piraeus lost 4 million euros after a loss of 1.85 billion in 2015.
“Despite the negative headwinds in the first months of 2017, similar to those experienced in early 2016, Piraeus is cautiously optimistic on delivering against 2017 targets – enhance asset quality, liquidity and achieve profitability,” deputy CEO Giorgos Poulopoulos said in a statement.
The group, with a current market value of 1.53 billion euros, said bad debt provisions rose to 310 million euros in October-December from 242 million in the third quarter.
Nonperforming loans dropped to 37.5 percent of its book at the end of December from 38.8 percent in the previous quarter and by 2.5 billion euros year-on-year to 24.4 billion.
Cash coverage of these loans, in arrears for more than 90 days, improved by two percentage points to 69.5 percent.
A wider measure, nonperforming exposures (NPEs), which includes NPLs and restructured loans likely to turn bad, stood at 52 percent of its total loans at end-December.