Greece's Alpha Bank posts higher quarterly profit on interest income

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Adds CEO comment paragraphs 4, 5, background in paragraph 6

ATHENS, May 8 (Reuters) -Alpha Bank ACBr.AT, Greece's third-largest lender by market value, on Monday posted a 24% rise in first-quarter net profit on higher interest income.

Alpha Bank, which is 9% owned by Greece's HFSF bank rescue fund, said net profit came in at 162 million euros ($178.62 million), up from 131 million euros in the first quarter last year.

A series of interest rate increases by the European Central Bank since last summer has boosted net interest income, which rose by an annual 50.7% in January to March to 423.6 million euros.

Chief Executive Officer Vassilis Psaltis said the start of the year was particularly strong and helped the bank to strengthen its capital base.

"At the end of the first quarter, our CET1 capital was at 12.8% and our total capital ratio at 17.0%," Psaltis said in a statement.

Greek banks have reduced a pile of non-performing credit, the legacy of a decade-long financial crisis that shrank the economy by a quarter. They have not paid any dividend since 2011.

Psaltis said that Alpha Bank remained "firmly focused" on resuming dividend payments from 2023 onwards.

Non-performing exposure ratio declined to 7.6% of the total loan book in March, from 7.8% in December, Alpha said.

($1 = 0.9069 euros)

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas
Editing by Bill Berkrot


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