March 7, 2019 / 6:35 AM / 4 months ago

Israel's Bank Leumi Q4 profit drops, to raise dividend payouts

TEL AVIV, March 7 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s two largest lenders, reported a drop in quarterly net profit that missed expectations on higher credit loss expenses and a drop in non-interest income.

Leumi said on Thursday it earned 688 million shekels ($191 million) in the fourth quarter, down from 854 million a year earlier. It had been forecast to earn 740 million shekels, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

It declared a quarterly dividend of 275 million shekels, representing 40 percent of net income.

The bank said its board has decided to raise its dividend policy to pay out 50 percent of net profit going forward from 40 percent. ($1 = 3.6078 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)

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