BRD Overtakes BCR in Terms of Profit in Six Months

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BRD, the second-largest bank on the market in terms of assets, posted net profit worth 417 million RON (around 133 million euros) in the first half of this year, up 32% against the first half of 2006, according to data calculated by the Romanian Accounting Standards (RAS), reported ZF.ro.

The profit posted by BRD exceeded the level registered by BCR, with the biggest credit institution reporting to the National Bank a net profit (according to RAS) worth 403 million RON (129 million euros). For the group as a whole, BCR posted net profit worth 139.5 million euros, calculated according to international standards.

"The excellent financial results witnessed at the end of the first half of the year are a consequence of combining several winning strategies such as the expansion of our branch network, the launch of products that have an impact on the market and a rigorous control of our general costs," said Patrick Gelin, chairman of BRD - Groupe Societe Generale.

 BRD's half-year profit is the largest in the history of the bank.

"This trend is in line with our expectations and is generated by the expansion of our distribution network and by the promotion of attractive offers, mainly in the field of consumer and mortgage lending," stated Bunescu.

According to the BRD official, the introduction of the new lending norms for individuals, which were approved by the NBR, was reflected in a marked sales increase in June against May: mortgage loans increased in volume by over 200%, whilst the volume of consumer loans increased by over 25% against May.

In the first half of the year, the total volume of outstanding loans stood at 20.8 billion RON (6.6 billion euros), up 51% against the same period in 2006. The volume of corporate loans saw an even higher increase than the retail segment, of 54%, against 48% for the retail segment.

"BRD has developed its traditional relations with the big corporations, including multinationals, offering classic lending products, as well as modern fund management and transfer banking services," said Bunescu. Under the circumstances, loans for individuals account for over 46% of the total loans granted by the bank. Deposits exceeded 21.3 billion RON, up 32% against the level seen on June 30, 2006. The gross operating income, excluding the impact of the net cost risk, stood at 592 million RON, up 59% against the same time in 2006. The bank specified that, after recovering some receivables, its risk cost attained a historic low halfway into the year.

The return on equity (ROE) reached a significant level, of 38.1% at the end of the first six months of the year, while the CIR (cost/income ratio) reached 45.2%. As for prospects for the second half of the year, Bunescu mentions diversifying the activities of the BRD group, after the market entry of mandatory private pensions (the second pillar) of BRD Fond de Pensii (BRD Pension Fund), which was set up as a joint venture with Sogecap, the insurance arm of the Societe Generale Group.

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