Emporiki Bank posts 2006 loss, provisions hurt

Emporiki Bank, majority-owned by France’s Credit Agricole, reported a full-year 2006 net loss of -234.7 million yesterday, hurt by loan-loss provisions and a one-off tax. Emporiki said 2006 results were adversely affected by total provisions of -539 million, including -386.5 million in one-off adjustments for impairment losses on loans. New owner Credit Agricole had said it intended to streamline the group’s credit risks. «The continued efforts of restructuring have established new standards for Emporiki Bank. Today, because of its liaison with Credit Agricole and its updated provisioning policy, Emporiki enjoys the highest credit rating among Greek banks,» Emporiki’s Chairman Jean-Frederic de Leusse said in a statement. The bank said net interest income grew 19.3 percent to -727 million last year on solid volume growth and an increasing shift of its loan portfolio toward retail credit. Its net interest margin improved to 3.4 from 3.15 percent in 2005, reflecting the increased share of retail loans in its total portfolio. Mortgages were up 29.6 percent to -5.4 billion with consumer loans up 22.9 percent to -2.15 billion. (Reuters)