March 19, 2020 / 6:26 AM / 22 days ago

Bank Hapoalim moves to a loss in Q4 on tax settlement, coronavirus

TEL AVIV, March 19 (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, said on Thursday it swung to a loss in the fourth quarter, hit by a provision to settle a U.S. tax evasion probe and by large credit loss provisions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The bank reported a net loss of 629 million shekels ($167 million) compared with a profit of 97 million a year earlier.

Hapoalim provisioned 897 million shekels in the quarter as a result of significant progress in reaching a settlement in a U.S. tax evasion investigation.

The bank said on Wednesday it expects to pay $870 million to settle the investigation and announced the quarterly provision in addition to the $611 million it had already set aside.

Net interest income edged up to 2.293 billion shekels in the quarter from 2.290 billion.

The credit loss expense surged to 876 million shekels from 118 million as the bank set aside money for losses from the global outbreak of coronavirus.

$1 = 3.7705 shekels Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer

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