Israel's First International Bank Q4 profit up 6.8 pct

TEL AVIV, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:41am EDT

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TEL AVIV, March 19 (Reuters) - First International Bank of Israel (FIBI), the country's fifth-largest bank, reported a 6.8 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday on lower expenses for credit losses and higher commissions.

FIBI posted a fourth-quarter net profit of 141 million shekels ($40.74 million) compared with 132 million a year earlier.

Net interest income and non-interest financing income edged up to 594 million shekels from 593 million. The bank decreased its expenses on credit losses to 32 million shekels from 49 million.

FIBI's Tier 1 capital ratio increased to 10.04 percent from 9.65 percent at the end of 2012.

"The First International Bank Group continues to present earnings stability, despite the further decline in the interest rate," said the bank's chief executive, Smadar Barber-Tsadik. "This was made possible by a growth in customers' activity, mainly in the areas of investment and capital market activity."

($1 = 3.4606 Israeli Shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen)

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