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BUCHAREST (Romania), August 1 (SeeNews) - Romania's Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), a unit of Austria's Erste Group, said that it turned to a consolidated net loss of 20.8 million lei ($4.9 million/4.4 million euro) in the first half of 2019, from a net profit of 697.0 million lei in the same period of last year.
The financial result was negatively impacted by a significant one-off provision allocation related to the activity of BCR's majority-owned savings and mortgage bank subsidiary in Romania, Banca pentru Locuinte, BCR said in an interim financial statement on Wednesday.
BCR's consolidated operating profit grew by 10.9% year-on-year in the first half of 2019 to 822 million lei, backed by a 9.6% rise in operating income to 1.69 billion lei.
Operating income was supported by a 15.4% increase in net interest income, to 1.11 billion lei, and 5.6% growth in net fee income, to 368.9 million lei.
The rise in net interest income was mainly due to a higher interest rate environment and higher customer loans and deposits.
Compared with the end of 2018, customer loans added 3.8% to 37.79 billion lei at the end of June, while deposits were 0.6% higher at 55.43 billion lei.
Corporate loans grew 5% year-to-date, while retail loans increased 4.1%. Deposit growth was mainly driven by retail deposits.
The lender's non-performing loans (NPL) ratio improved to 5.5% at the end of June from 5.8% at the end of 2018.
The bank's assets rose to 72.22 billion lei at the end of June from 71.53 billion lei six months earlier.
BCR was the third biggest bank by assets in Southeast Europe at the end of 2018, and the second largest in Romania.
(1 euro = 4.7330 lei)