* Posts Q1 net profit of 317 mln rbls vs 271 mln forecast
* Boosted by lending growth, lower provision charges
MOSCOW, May 19 (Reuters) - Vozrozhdeniye (VZRZ.MM), a top-30 Russian lender, posted on Thursday a 317 million rouble ($11.3 million) net profit for the first quarter, beating forecasts on the back of stronger lending activity.
Net profit more than tripled from 97 million roubles in the same period of 2010, exceeding a Reuters poll forecast of 271 million roubles, the bank said, opening the quarterly earnings season for Russian banks. [ID:nLDE74H1M6]
Vozrozhdeniye’s provision charges for loan impairment fell to 350 million roubles in the thirst three months of 2011, nearly two times lower than levels seen in the same period last year as the economy started to recover from a 2008-09 crisis.
The bank’s loan book before provisions rose by 32 percent year-on-year to 126 billion roubles and by 9.4 percent quarter-on-quarter, while net interest margin (NIM) continued to decline, hitting 3.2 percent in the first quarter.
The lender, which used expensive deposits to cover funding needs during the global financial downturn, showed 4.0 percent NIM in the first quarter of 2010 and 3.5 percent in the last quarter of 2010. (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva, writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Mike Nesbit) ($1=28.08 Roubles)