July 27, 2019 / 11:06 PM / 21 days ago

UPDATE 1-Jordan's Arab Bank group says H1 net profit rises 4% to $453 mln

(Adds details, quotes from executives, background)

AMMAN, July 28 (Reuters) - Jordan’s largest lender, Arab Bank Group, reported a 4% rise in first-half net profit to $453 million, from $436 million a year earlier driven by growth in core banking income.

A statement on Sunday by the bank, one of the Middle East’s major financial institutions, said total loans rose 3% to $26.2 billion as of the end of June, while deposits also rose 3% to $34.1 billion. Group equity stood at $8.7 billion, it said.

Chairman Sabih al Masri said the “strong performance despite the continued slowdown of economic growth in the region” reflected the bank’s ability to adjust to a “challenging banking environment.”

Arab Bank operates in 30 countries on five continents and owns 40% of Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank ANB.

Chief Executive Officer Nemeh Sabbagh said liquidity continued to be robust with a loan-to-deposit ratio of 76.9% as of end of June. The bank’s provisions coverage ratio for non-performing loans stood in excess of 100%.

The results also showed growth in core banking income with net interest income rising by 5 percent, Sabbagh said. The bank gave no figures for its net operating income. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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