ECONOMY

Eurobank profit misses targets

EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-biggest lender, said profit last year declined 20 percent as global financial turmoil dampened business and the bank set aside more money for potential bad loans. Net income fell to 652 million euros from 815 million euros a year earlier, the bank said yesterday, below the figure of 739 million euros expected by analysts, according to Bloomberg. Provisions for bad loans more than doubled for the year to 886 million euros as Eurobank followed other Greek banks in setting aside more money for potential bad loans amid the ongoing global slowdown. The bank made provisions of 240 million euros in the fourth quarter alone to protect against future possible credit losses. The lender said operations in Southeastern Europe generated a net profit of 137 million euros, up from 73 million euros the previous year. «New Europe… contributed by 21 percent to the total group profitability, versus 8.9 percent in 2007,» the bank said. Eurobank said net interest income grew 19 percent to 2.4 billion euros with a net interest margin stable at 3.2 percent. Customer deposits rose 26.3 percent to 45.7 billion euros in 2008. Lending grew 22.4 percent, totaling 57.1 billion euros.