November 18, 2019 / 10:18 AM / 21 days ago

Israel's Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Q3 profit falls less than forecast

TEL AVIV, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Mizrahi Tefahot, Israel’s third-largest bank, reported on Monday lower third-quarter net profit, weighed down by a drop in financing income and higher salary expenses.

Mizrahi earned 422 million shekels ($121 million) in the July to September period, down from 454 million a year earlier. It was forecast to earn 408 million shekels, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Earlier this year Mizrahi admitted to helping clients evade U.S. taxes and agreed to pay a $195 million fine, ending a five-year investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

The bank last quarter resumed dividend distributions after halting them last year to set aside money for the tax probe. It said it would pay 169 million shekels for the third quarter.

Financing income before credit losses slipped to 1.21 billion shekels from 1.24 billion a year earlier, while the credit loss provision increased to 70 million shekels from 61 million. Its income was hurt by a drop in the consumer price index, compared with a rise in the year-ago quarter.

The bank’s Tier I capital ratio, a key measure of its financial strength, edged up to 10.13% at the end of September from 10.11% a year earlier. ($1 = 3.4904 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)

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