Russian banking profits down 67 percent in 2015 -

MOSCOW, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Russian banking profits fell by 67 percent to 192 billion roubles ($2.4 billion) in 2015, the central bank said on Monday, compared with 589 billion roubles the previous year.

The central bank said that loan-loss provisions for the sector were 33 percent higher at the end of 2015 than at the start of the year. Banks’ assets shrunk by 1.6 percent over 2015 when currency moves were factored in.

Profits slid as an economic recession led to a deterioration in loan quality and high central bank interest rates ate into margins.

Many banks were loss-making, with the notable exception of top bank Sberbank. Last year also saw an increase in mergers and acquisitions activity in the banking sector. ($1 = 79.5570 roubles) (Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Andrew Osborn)