AstroBank returns to profit

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AstroBank posted a net profit of €3.3 mln in 2021 and €18 million before provisions, against a net loss of €18.1 mln in 2020.

The bank attributes its profitability to the new, more rationalised organisational structure and focused business efforts.

The results were presented by the bank’s CFO, Andreas Artemiou and CEO Aristidis Vourakis.

AstroBank said it reduced its Non-Performing Exposures (NPEs) to 25.6% at the end of 2021, from 30.3% the previous year and 24.1% in the first quarter of 2022.

The bank’s capital adequacy ratio was 16.58%, up from 15.02% the previous year, reflecting internal capital generation through profitability and reallocation of capital commitments on assets.

The Core Tier 1 ratio, consisting of common equity, stood at 15.31% at the end of 2021.

Liquidity remained strong during the year, with an LCR ratio of 260%. The loans deposits ratio remained stable at 52%.

AstroBank advanced new loans of €240 mln, one-third of which being retail, mainly mortgages benefiting from the government’s interest subsidy scheme, and two-thirds of SME qualifying loans.

Total assets of AstroBank as of 31 December 2021 reached €3.018 bln from €2.833 bln in 2020.

The increase reflects continuous increase in deposits to €2.191 bln from €2.106 bln.

Loan balances increased from €1.100 bln in 2020 to €1.137 bln last year.

The mild growth is attributed to the significant repayments during the year and acceleration of NPE resolutions offsetting the significant new loan origination.

Liquidity of AstroBank remained strong with an LCR ratio of 260% as opposed to 246% in December 2020.

Net Loans to deposits ratio remained essentially stable at 52%.

AstroBank maintained liquidity and treasury assets of €1.643 bln reflecting the European Central Bank’s long term refinancing operations.

Net interest income (NII) was €48.1 mln, decreased by 3.2% from €49.7 mln.

The decrease was mainly driven by the lower investment income from bond maturities, lower income from non-performing loans and the full-year cost from Tier II bonds issued during 2020.

Total operating expenses were reduced to €56.7 mln from €78.6 mln in 2020.

Pre – Provision Income amounted to €18.1 mln instead of an €8.8 mln loss in 2020.

Profit after Tax was €3.3 mln compared to a loss of €18.1 mln in 2020, mainly due to completing a Voluntary Retirement Scheme with a total cost of €17 mln.

Vourakis said that the bank remains committed to the Cypriot economy with loans of €250 mln last year.

He said the bank is operating successfully with significantly reduced staff, more than 20% less than at the beginning of 2021.

“We want to be the customer bank where you can talk to someone who offers you personalised service.”

He said that the bank pursues a balanced policy between lending, investing in highly rated securities and holding liquidity with the Central Bank.

Lebanon

Vourakis said that the bank is not affected by the crisis in Lebanon, although it has Lebanese shareholders.

“We are not a Lebanese but a Cypriot bank.”

He said the bank has no activities in Lebanon but a very limited financial exposure and that they have provisions for the 2% of the funds at risk.

“We have no real exposure to what is happening in Lebanon.”

He added that Lebanese deposits comprise a very small part of the total.

AstroBank is a Cyprus-licensed banking Institution established in 2008.

It employs around 420 staff and has 15 branches across the island.