ING Slaski cautious about 2014 net profit growth

WARSAW Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:35am EST

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WARSAW Feb 12 (Reuters) - ING Bank Slaski, the Polish unit of Dutch lender ING, said on Wednesday it would be difficult to maintain its net profit growth in 2014 after it increased consolidated net profit by 16 percent to 962 million zlotys ($315.20 million) last year.

"It is difficult to say if it would be possible to maintain this dynamic pace of growth, " Slaski CEO Malgorzata Kolakowska told reporters when asked if consolidated net profit would match the 2013 level.

"We would like to maintain the dynamic tempo, but there are some factors that might negatively affect banks results, " she said.

Bank Slaski, the no. 5 lender in the Polish market, reported its 2013 financial results earlier on Wednesday.

Kolakowska said a cut, mandated by parliament, in the fee that banks charge clients for credit card transactions would have a negative effect.

The cut, to 0.5 percent from 1.2 percent now, takes effect from July 1. It will diminish the bank's full 2014 net profit by 30-35 million zlotys.

Low interest rates set by the Polish central bank will also weigh negatively on the bank's margins.

Bank Slaski expects to attract around 300,000 new clients this year, down from 350,000 in 2013, as competition on the banking market becomes more intense. The bank currently has 3 million clients. ($1 = 3.0521 Polish zlotys) (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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