Bank Leumi reports heavy losses for Q4 of 2008

Israel's largest bank ends 2008 with only NIS 92m profit; Bank Discount also sees sharp revenue drop.

March 31, 2009 10:15
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galia maor 248.88. (photo credit: Courtesy )

Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., Israel's largest bank, on Tuesday reported NIS 1.2 billion in losses in the fourth quarter of 2008. The bank ended the year with a profit of NIS 92 million. In comparison, it ended 2007 with a profit of NIS 3.4 billion. The bank's bad-debt provisions for 2008 - debts the bank believes are irrecoverable - were at NIS 2.1b., more than five times the 2007 figure. "We definitely expect a difficult year or more ahead," Leumi chairman Eitan Raf told Army Radio. "As leaders in the Israeli economy, we are worried." Raf called on the government to take a more active role in aiding the banks. "Without the government, the financial powers won't be able to handle this alone," he said. The bank's president and CEO, Galia Maor, received a salary of NIS 9m. in 2008, while Raf was paid NIS 6.3m. Meanwhile, Bank Discount announced Tuesday that its revenues had seen a 80.6% decrease in 2008. The bank's net income for the year was NIS 245 million. Discount lost NIS 121 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, as opposed to an income of NIS 41 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

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