Eurobank's profits jump as commission income increases, provisions drop

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ATHENS, May 25 (Reuters) - Eurobank (EURBr.AT), Greece's largest lender by market value, on Wednesday reported higher net profit in the quarter through March compared to the same period a year earlier on the back of higher commission income and lower loan-loss provisions.

The bank, which is 2.4% owned by the country's HFSF bank rescue fund, reported net earnings of 270 million euros ($288.28 million) from 70 million in the first quarter of 2021.

Provisions for impaired credit fell 52.7% year-on-year to 62 million euros.

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"Despite new headwinds, we are on track to meet our targets for the year across all areas, as set in the three-year plan," said Chief Executive Fokion Karavias.

"We are set to deliver on our pledge for a 10% return on equity this year and dividend distribution out of 2022 profits."

Greece's economy is expected to grow at a lower but still healthy 3%-3.5% clip this year, supported by EU funds, increased investment appetite and a strong tourism recovery, he said.

Eurobank's net interest income rose 1.4% year-on-year to 339 million euros while commission income grew 24.7% to 123 million, mainly the result of fees from network activities, wealth management and its credit card business.

On the asset quality front, the bank's non-performing exposures (NPE) ratio fell to 6.0% at the end of March from 6.8% in December with its stock of NPEs shrinking to 2.4 billion euros.

It said new loan disbursements in Greece reached 2.3 billion euros in the first quarter.

($1 = 0.9366 euros)

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Reporting by George Georgiopoulos Editing by Bernadette Baum

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