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TEL AVIV, May 25 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, Israel's second-largest lender, reported a 36 percent rise in first-quarter net profit and declared its first dividend in six years.
Leumi posted on Thursday quarterly net profit of 622 million shekels ($174 million), up from 459 million a year ago but below a forecast of 661 million shekels in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Net interest income rose to 1.87 billion shekels from 1.66 billion. It had credit loss expenses of 101 million shekels versus recoveries of 123 million a year ago.
Leumi said it would pay a dividend for the quarter of 124 million shekels.
In March, the bank adopted a dividend policy, as its board set a payout ratio of 20 percent of quarterly profit starting in the first quarter of 2017.
Its Tier 1 ratio, which measures equity capital as a proportion of total risk-weighted assets, slipped to 11.02 percent from 11.15 percent at the end of 2016. ($1 = 3.5818 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)