Alpha Bank profitable for the whole of 2020, aims to reduce bad debt ratio

Band George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS, March 23 (Reuters)Alpha Bank ACBr.AT, one of Greece’s four largest banks, recorded a loss in the fourth quarter of last year but reported profits for the whole of 2020, she said on Tuesday.

Alpha, 11% owned by the country’s bank rescue fund HFSF, reported net profit of 103.7 million euros ($ 123.13 million) in 2020 compared to net profit of 105.3 million. euros in 2019.

In the fourth quarter, the bank lost 29.7 million euros after a net gain of 44.3 million in the third quarter.

“In a year of unprecedented disruption, Alpha Bank delivered a strong performance… after taking an additional € 283 million in COVID-related write-downs,” CEO Vassilis Psaltis said in a statement.

He said management would step up efforts to meet a single-digit non-performing exposure ratio (NPE) target in Greece.

Last month, Alpha Bank agreed to sell a portfolio of 10.8 billion euros ($ 12.81 billion) of bad loans and 80% of loan service provider Cepal Holdings to US fund Davidson Kempner.

The sale of the portfolio, known as Galaxy, was the second rated securitization of non-performing exposures (NPEs) in Europe after Monte dei Paschi’s Sienna project.

At the end of December, Alpha Bank’s NPE ratio, pro forma for Galaxy, stood at 26.5%.

The group has reduced its network to a total of 519 branches from 580 a year ago due to ongoing rationalization. Branches in Greece amounted to 336.

He said an accelerated migration of customers to digital channels has continued unabated throughout the past year due to the extended lockdown to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has resulted in higher penetration of digital sales, with 92% of monetary transactions carried out through digital channels compared to 87% in 2019.

($ 1 = € 0.8429)

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

(([email protected]; +30 210 337 6437; Reuters messaging: [email protected]))

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