ATHENS, March 30 (Reuters) - Alpha Bank, Greece's fourth-largest lender by assets, was profitable in October-to-December for a second straight quarter as improved net interest income offset higher provisions for impaired loans.
Alpha, 11 percent owned by the country's bank rescue fund HFSF, reported a net profit of 20.1 million euros ($21.6 million), down from net earnings of 41.2 million in the third quarter.
For 2016 as a whole, the bank returned to profitability, posting net profit of 42.3 million euros after a loss of 1.37 billion in 2015.
The bank's non-performing loans ratio eased to 38.1 percent of its book at end-December from 38.3 percent at end-September.
Provisions for bad debt rose 18 percent quarter-on-quarter to 304 million euros from 258 million in the third quarter. ($1 = 0.9318 euros) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)