According to the preliminary results announced by the Group, as at end of 2014 Core Tier I ratio stood at 13.5% and deposits increased by 15%, “facts that demonstrate the great trust enjoyed by the bank from shareholders and depositors alike,” it said.
The operating profits before provisions amounted to EUR 158 mln, with the fourth quarter of 2014 alone ending with a net profit of EUR 7 mln.
The primary objectives of the bank for 2015 are the effective management of NPLs and the expansion of its loan portfolio, it said.
“With comfortable liquidity on hand, Hellenic Bank intends to play a leading role in the recovery of the real economy by funding viable businesses and households with new credit facilities,” the bank added, as it announced lower lending rates.
CEO Pijls said that there are “many opportunities” for growth, but stated that the bank “is not involved in any conversation about any takeover.”
“We are well capitalised, we have not been bailed-in or bailed out, we have liquidity and therefore we have an opportunity to grow”, he said.
Pijls said that when the foreclosure law is finally approved, the benefit will be on the restructuring side.
“We are not a real estate company and we do not want to become one,” he said in reference to a public myth that banks are eager to foreclose on primary homes and possibly sell these portfolios to foreign investors.
“The main benefit of the foreclosure law is to bring customers to the table and make the customer viable. A total of 25% of cases of NPLs have been approved for restructuring, 30% are under review, 10% have been rejected and 5% of the cases the customers have found a cure. So we have reviewed around 70%”, he added.
Referring to the agreement with the European Investment Bank which provides for a total of 70 mln euros for Cypriot companies, he said already that there is demand for 54 mln euros.