May 20, 2019 / 9:01 AM / 3 months ago

Israel's Mizrahi Tefahot Bank profit jumps in strong Q1

JERUSALEM, May 20 (Reuters) - Mizrahi Tefahot, Israel’s third-largest bank, reported on Monday a 17.8% jump in first-quarter net profit and said it expects to resume dividend distributions next quarter.

Mizrahi earned 404 million shekels ($113 million) in the January to March period, up from 343 million a year earlier.

After halting dividends since early 2018, the bank believes it will resume dividend payments in the second quarter, said CEO Eldad Fresher. The bank had halted dividends while it set aside money to cover the settlement of a U.S. tax evasion investigation.

Financing income before credit losses rose to 1.29 billion shekels from 1.17 billion a year earlier, while the credit loss provision decreased to 76 million shekels from 82 million.

The bank’s Tier I capital ratio, a key measure of its financial strength, fell to 10.12 percent at the end of March from 10.16 percent a year earlier. ($1 = 3.5721 shekels) (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Steven Scheer)

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