First International Bank of Israel's nine-month net profit almost doubled to NIS 329m. from NIS 170m. a year earlier, due to a rise in financing income and a fall in provisions for doubtful debt. The bank said on Tuesday that in the nine-months ended September 30, income from financing operations, before provisions for doubtful debt, rose to NIS 1.22b. from NIS 1.07b. in 2004, boosted by the inclusion of UBank, which First International Bank of Israel (FIBI) bought in December for almost NIS 500m. Return on equity jumped to 12% from 6.5% and earnings per share climbed to NIS 65.50 from NIS 33.80, while operating and other revenue increased to NIS 766m. from NIS 616m. Provisions for doubtful debts fell to NIS 197m. from NIS 360m. and non-performing loans fell to 21.3% of problem debts at the end of September from 24.2% at the end of 2004. FIBI chief executive David Granot said an increase in the collection of doubtful debts would continue, as would the company's drive to cut costs. The bank recently completed the outsourcing of its computer system, which was expected to bring annual savings of NIS 26m. a year. Credit to the public fell to NIS 43.1b. in the first nine months of the year from NIS 43.2b., although deposits from the public rose to NIS 60.1b. from NIS 58.6b. Third-quarter net profit soared more than four-fold to NIS 148m. from NIS 33m. in the same period a year earlier; income from financing operations before provisions for doubtful debt rose to NIS 443m. from NIS 406m.; and return on equity rose to 16.1% from 3.7%. FIBI said on Sunday that it was selling its wholly-owned Dikla Mutual Funds unit to Migdal Insurance Holdings for up to NIS 220m. as part of its compliance with the Bachar reforms, which obligate the banks to sell their mutual and provident funds.