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Jordan's Housing Bank H1 net up 68pc

Amman, July 31, 2010

Jordan's Housing Bank for Trade and Finance posted a 68 per cent rise in first-half net profit to JD48.9 million ($68.8 million) as it set aside lower provisions.

Financial statements also showed that assets at the bank, the country's second-largest lender, had risen 2.2 percent by the end of June 2010 to JD6.22 billion ($8.77 billion) compared with the end of 2009.

The results beat analysts' forecasts that predicted modest  profits and factored in higher provisions by the bank, whose bottom line was hit along with other Jordanian banks by the global financial crisis.

Housing Bank began last year putting aside hefty provisions for non-performing loans but allocated only 17.636 million dinars of provisions in the first half compared to 68 million dinars a year ago, the financial statements shows.

Most Jordanian banks were forced to set aside higher provisions to cover possible defaults and non-performing loans by businesses and real-estate firms reeling from the impact of the global downturn on the aid-dependent economy.

Gross income rose 4.5 per cent to JD132.86 million compared with a year earlier.

Deposits rose 2 per cent to 4.521 billion dinars at the end of June 2010 from the end of December 2009.

After provisions, Housing Bank's total outstanding loan portfolio, which includes credit to government bodies, rose to 2.403 billion dinars from 2.369 billion dinars at end of 2009.

Housing Bank is one of the few Jordanian banks active in global financial markets in an otherwise family-dominated banking scene that was shielded by modest risk profiles from exposure to Western markets through offering relatively plain products.

The bank has a presence in Syria, the Palestinian territories and Algeria, where it has a joint venture bank, and a branch in Bahrain. It also has representative offices in Iraq, Libya and the United Arab Emirates.

Housing Bank's main shareholders are Qatar National Bank with over 35 percent followed by Libya's Foreign Bank with a 15 percent shareholding and Kuwait's Real Estate Investment Consortium with over 10 per cent stake.

Jordan's state pension fund also has a 15.4 percent shareholding. Gulf Arab investors along with Jordanian businessmen own the remaining shares of the bank, which has the largest branch network in the country.-Reuters




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