National Bank posts losses of 1.3 billion in H1

Greece?s leading lender National Bank on Tuesday posted a 1.31-billion-euro first-half loss after taking a huge write-down on its holdings of Greek government bonds.

The bank said it set aside 1.65 billion euros to cover anticipated losses on its government bond investments. Without the charge, it would have had a net profit of 29 million euros, down from 146 million euros a year earlier and 157 million euros in the first quarter.

The bank noted that the book value of its government bonds, eligible for inclusion in a bond swap plan agreed as part of Greece?s second debt rescue, amounted to 9 billion euros.

?NBG will continue its policy of further enhancing its capital base, through efficient asset and liability management, and maintaining satisfactory liquidity,? Chief Executive Officer Apostolos Tamvakakis said in a statement.

He said the bank would await ?more clarity? on the planned rollover of Greek government bonds by the private sector, as agreed under a 160-billion-euro debt bailout agreed at a eurozone summit in July, before making any strategic move.

Additionally, the bank would want to see the results of an overall audit of bank investment portfolios by US-based money managers BlackRock, Tamvakakis said.