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Greece’s Piraeus Bank turns in quarterly profit, bad…

ATHENS, Aug 4 – Piraeus Bank, one of Greece’s four largest lenders, on Tuesday reported a profit in the second quarter on the back of lower loan impairment provisions.

The bank, which is 26.2% owned by the country’s HFSF bank rescue fund, reported net profit from continued operations of 85 million euros ($99.96 million) after a loss of 230 million in the first quarter.

“Asset quality trends remain on track with the proactive measures we have taken,” CEO Christos Megalou said in a statement. “During the second quarter we reduced the NPE (non-performing exposures) stock by 0.8 billion euros.”

Piraeus Bank said loan impairment provisions fell to 160 million euros in April-to-June from 510 million in the first quarter.

It said NPEs dropped for the 18th consecutive quarter and stood at 23.3 billion euros at the end of June, down from 24.5 billion at the end of December. Its NPEs were 45% covered by cumulative provisions.

Greek banks have offered businesses hit by the coronavirus crisis a six-month freeze on loan payments as part of relief efforts to help borrowers cope with the economic shutdown.

At Piraeus Bank loans under moratoria to help customers during the COVID-19 outbreak stood at 4.0 billion euros.

Based on a “transformation plan” for the next three to five years, Piraeus said it is working towards further derisking its balance sheet, aiming for a single-digit NPE ratio and a 20% reduction in operating costs. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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