November 26, 2019 / 9:14 AM / 13 days ago

Israel's First International Bank Q3 profit up, beats estimates

JERUSALEM, Nov 26 (Reuters) - First International Bank of Israel (FIBI), the country’s fifth-largest bank by assets, reported on Tuesday a rise in quarterly income that beat estimates, citing a recent merger with a smaller rival and efficiency steps.

FIBI posted third-quarter net profit of 236 million shekels ($68 million), up from 212 million a year earlier and above a forecast of 229 million shekels in a Reuters poll.

Net interest income grew to 642 million shekels from 634 million, while credit loss expenses decreased to 33 million shekels from 49 million.

“The results of our merger with Otzar Hachayal Bank, which is one of the key moves that we have recently taken has begun to show its effect both with respect to cost savings and to growth across our areas of operations,” said CEO Smadar Barber-Tsadik.

The bank’s Tier 1 capital ratio slipped to 10.79% from 10.86% in the second quarter, but was up from 10.39% a year earlier.

FIBI said it would pay a dividend of 110 million shekels, in line with its policy of distributing up to 50% of net earnings. ($1 = 3.4684 shekels) (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Steven Scheer)

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