(Adds further details, CEO quote)
By Lefteris Papadimas
ATHENS, May 14 (Reuters) - National Bank (NBG), Greece’s second-largest lender by assets, on Tuesday said profit from continuing operations had risen in the first quarter of 2019 on the back of higher trading gains.
NBG, 40 percent owned by the country’s bank rescue fund HFSF, said net profit from continued operations reached 131 million euros ($147 million) versus a net profit of 8 million euros in the last quarter of 2018.
Greek banks are focused on reducing their bad debt portfolios and meeting targets on so-called non-performing exposures agreed with regulators.
Trading income rebounded to 101 million euros in the first quarter from a loss of 47 million in the previous quarter.
“The results of (the) first quarter are beginning to reflect NBG’s significant efforts at transformation,” NBG Chief Executive Paul Mylonas said in a statement.
He added that the bank’s management will present its strategy later in the week “transforming NBG into a highly profitable bank with a clean balance sheet.”
Its ratio of non-performing exposures (NPEs), which includes non-performing loans (NPLs) and other credit likely to turn bad, edged lower to 38.9 percent from 40.9 percent in December.
NBG’s provisions for credit impairments rised by 70 percent quarter-on-quarter to 103 million euros. ($1 = 0.8921 euros) (Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Alexander Smith)