May 14, 2020 / 5:09 AM / 17 days ago

REFILE-Israel's Bank Hapoalim Q1 profit falls on COVID-19 provisions

(Fixes date to May 14)

TEL AVIV, May 14 (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, said on Thursday net profit fell sharply in the first quarter, hit by a large credit loss provision due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The bank reported a net profit of 192 million shekels ($54 million) compared with a profit of 821 million a year earlier and a forecast of 464 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Net financing income rose to 2.498 billion shekels in the quarter from 2.366 billion.

The credit loss expense surged to 809 million shekels from 121 million as the bank set aside money as an advance measure to confront the effects of the global outbreak of coronavirus.

Last month the bank agreed to pay nearly $875 million to the U.S. government to resolve charges it conspired with American taxpayers and others to hide over $7.6 billion in Swiss and Israeli accounts.

Hapoalim had already provisioned for this settlement. ($1 = 3.5300 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)

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