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ATHENS, May 24 (Reuters) - Greece's second largest lender by assets National Bank (NBG) was profitable for a third straight quarter in January-to-March, but net earnings fell sharply from the previous quarter as bad debt provisions rose.
NBG, 40 percent owned by the country's bank rescue fund HFSF, reported a net profit of 5 million euros ($5.6 million), excluding assets held for sale and discontinued operations, versus net earnings of 73 million euros in the fourth quarter.
Non-performing loans edged up to 33 percent of its book in the first quarter from 32.9 percent at the end of December. NBG said loan impairments rose 77.7 percent to 236 million euros from 219 million in last year's final quarter. ($1 = 0.8937 euros) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)