TEL AVIV May 15 Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank,
Israel's fourth-largest lender, reported a six percent drop in
quarterly profit due to lower financing income in the wake of
declining interest rates.
Mizrahi-Tefahot, the first of Israel's top banks to report
quarterly earnings, said on Thursday it had net profit of 264
million shekels ($76.4 million) in the first quarter, down from
280 million a year earlier but above an average forecast in a
Reuters poll of 257 million shekels.
Financing income before credit losses fell 4.9 percent to
794 million shekels while it had a gain in its provision for
credit losses of 5 million shekels compared with a charge of 34
Operating and other expenses grew a moderate 1.4 percent in
the first three months of the year.
Mizrahi-Tefahot is Israel's largest mortgage lender with an
average market share of 36 percent.
Its ratio of Tier I capital to risk elements rose to 8.87
percent from 8.71 percent a year earlier. Banks must reach a 9
percent ratio by the start of 2015.
"Against a backdrop of a decline in demand for credit in the
corporate sector, the bank is acting to significantly expand its
activities in the small and medium size business sector," said
Chief Executive Eldad Fresher.
Israel's top three banks will report quarterly results next
($1 = 3.4541 Israeli Shekels)
(Reporting by Tova Cohen)