ECONOMY

Piraeus Bank posts Q4 loss

piraeus-bank-posts-q4-loss

Piraeus Bank posted a loss in last year’s final quarter, hurt by a surge in provisions for impaired loans.

The country’s second-largest lender, which is 26.2 percent-owned by the country’s HFSF bank rescue fund after its recapitalization late last year, on Wednesday reported a loss of 1.24 billion euros after a net profit of 495 million euros in the third quarter of 2015.

The group, with a current market value of 1.55 billion euros, said loan-loss provisions rose more than fivefold to 1.38 billion euros in October-December from 244 million in the third quarter.

“The positive conclusion of the critical negotiations between Greece and the institutions for the first review of the new [bailout] program will create positive momentum in the economy,” the bank’s chairman, Michael Sallas, said.

“It will offer banks the chance to confront the loans in arrears issue even more effectively,” he added.

The group’s nonperforming credit dropped to 39.5 percent of its loan book at the end of December from 40.5 percent in the third quarter.

Provisioning increased the coverage ratio of impaired loans to 65 percent from 61 percent in September.

Piraeus said the jump in provisions was also related to a further reduction in real estate prices.

[Reuters]