|USD Million||Q1 2018||Q1 2019|
|Net Advances to Customers||5,523||5,310|
|Net Interest Margin||1.38%||1.12%|
|Operating Expenses/Average Assets||1.06%||0.94%|
|Offshore Foreign Currency Liquidity/ FCY Customer Deposits||15.20%||16.23%|
|Loan Provisioning Coverage Ratio||86.07%||88.97%|
BEIRUT, 25 April 2019: Byblos Bank posted net profit of USD 27 million for the first three months of 2019, a decrease of USD 0.9 million, or 3%, from the same period of 2018. Indeed, a number of factors affected the level of profitability. This included the high liquidity levels maintained by the bank in view of political and economic uncertainties, the increased cost of deposits, and additional provisions against possible credit risks.
Short-term foreign currency liquidity – in the form of short-term placements with above-investment-grade institutions – accounted for 16.23% of Byblos Bank’s foreign currency deposits in the first quarter of 2019, far above internal and international benchmarks. Furthermore, the Bank’s Basel III Capital Adequacy Ratio remained at over 17%, once again well above the minimum regulatory requirement of 15%.
Byblos Bank continues to focus on containing operating costs through productivity-led initiatives and cost-control measures. The ratio of operating expenses to average assets improved from 1.06% as at end-March 2018 to 0.94% as at end-March 2019.
In addition, the difficult economic environment has led our lending teams to focus on working out solutions for some of the Bank’s customers. As a result, we were able to achieve a comfortable provision coverage ratio of 88.97% against an acceptable non-performing loan ratio of 4.16%.
For the rest of 2019, the Bank will maintain its successful policy of prudence in the face of persistent geopolitical challenges, and will consider taking further precautions to protect the interests of its customers and shareholders.