ECONOMY

NBG’s 2007 net surges 70 pct

The National Bank of Greece (NBG) said yesterday full-year 2007 net profit grew 70 percent, at the top end of forecasts, boosted by Turkish Finansbank and growing retail credit. Greece’s largest lender said net group earnings after minority items reached -1.678 billion versus an average forecast of -1.65 billion in a Reuters poll of seven analysts. «Our performance in 2007 serves to reinforce our expectations for dynamic growth in the group’s business in Greece and the wider region of Southeast Europe and Turkey,» NBG Chief Executive Officer Takis Arapoglou said in a statement. «Profit outperformed the targets set in our business plan.» Greek banks have been riding a wave of robust retail credit expansion at home, with operations in Southeast Europe increasingly feeding profit. Lack of exposure to subprime loans has spared them the large writedowns seen in some European peers. National Bank, present in Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Albania, said Turkish subsidiary Finansbank contributed -448 million to group earnings. «Our international subsidiaries increased their contribution, generating 35 percent of total group profit,» Arapoglou said. NBG’s net interest income rose 43 percent to -3.051 billion. Its overall loan portfolio grew 27 percent to reach -56 billion.