Hellenic eyes €200 mln profit

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Hellenic reported good financial results for 2022 with a profit of €24 mln (from a €12 mln loss in 2021), confirming the progress made in the transformation to a customer- and technology-focused bank, Group CEO Oliver Gatzke said on Wednesday.

He said a solid performance continued in the first quarter of 2023, demonstrating that “we are on the right track”.

Gatzke addressed the bank’s 49th Annual General Meeting, saying that Hellenic’s capital position remains strong with a capital adequacy ratio of 25% as of 31 March while maintaining “ample liquidity” and expressed confidence the evolving interest rate environment will continue to support its financial performance in the coming years.

“We expect pre-tax profit for 2023 to be higher than €200 mln, mainly due to changes in interest rates and improved revenues, driven by the insurance and card activities, and an improved cost structure following the successful voluntary early exit programme completed in November 2022”.

On the bank’s three-year transformation plan, Gatzke said this was “well underway”, adding the aim was to improve the customer experience and increase revenue and efficiency.

He said that in May 2023, 47% of transactions were conducted through Online Banking, 43% through ATMs and only 10% were conducted in branches.

The chair of Hellenic Bank’s board, Euripides Polycarpou, stressed the aim remains to implement the strategic objectives to maximise value for shareholders, employees, partners and customers.

He said the bank evolved over the last eight years from a “small-sized bank” to one with a leading role in the Cypriot market.

“At that time, the number of our customers was around 180,000, while with the integration of the former Co-operative in 2018, our customer base multiplied, exceeding 550,000”.

He said the market share was 13.8% in terms of deposits and only 7.1% for loans, while today, the market share in household deposits is 38.5% and new household loans at 35%, making Hellenic Bank “one of the key drivers of supporting the growth of the Cypriot economy.”

Polycarpou said there was an inverse development of NPLs, “The biggest problem the Cypriot banking system had to face on a broader basis.”

In 2013 the NPL ratio at Hellenic Bank exceeded 56%, while “today, with persistent efforts and organic and non-organic solutions, this ratio has dropped to just 3.4%.”