Israel's Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Q4 profit down more than expected

JERUSALEM, March 10 Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:18am EDT

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JERUSALEM, March 10 (Reuters) - Mizrahi-Tefahot, Israel's No. 4 bank and largest mortgage lender, reported a slightly larger-than-expected decline in quarterly profit due to lower non-interest financing income.

The bank, whose share of the mortgage market is around 36 percent, said on Monday it earned 252 million shekels ($72.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 270 million a year earlier and below expectations of 260 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Net interest income rose to 784 million shekels from 643 million, while non-interest financing income slipped to 23 million from 229 million.

Charges against credit losses fell to 5 million shekels from 48 million. Analysts had expected credit loss provisions of 72 million shekels.

Mizrahi-Tefahot again did not declare a dividend this quarter after paying one after second-quarter results but the bank plans to pay dividends until the end of 2014 of up to 30 percent of annual net income from regular operations.

Its Tier I capital, a measure of a bank's financial strength, rose to 9.01 percent at the end of December from 8.55 percent at the end of 2012.

Israel's banks must reach a Tier I capital ratio of 9 percent by the start of 2015.

The country's top three banks report quarterly results later this month.

($1 = 3.4657 Israeli shekels) (Reporting by Steven Scheer)

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