First International Bank of Israel (TASE: FTIN) had a successful year in 2018, with net profit jumping 8% to NIS 733 million. Managed by CEO Smadar Barber-Tsadik, the bank's return on equity rose from 9.1% in 2017 to 9.3% in 2018.
The bank, controlled by Zadik Bino, announced that it would distribute a NIS 105 million dividend for the fourth quarter, and a NIS 355 million dividend for its 2018 results, 50% of its profit.
First International Bank continued its growth in 2018, together with streamlining and improving its profit margins. The bank's credit portfolio grew 5% to NIS 84.3 billion, and its financing profit from current activity rose 11% as a result.
First International Bank's salary expenses jumped 7% in 2018. The increase is attributable to the bank's early retirement program, other bonuses, and the updating of wage agreements in its subsidiaries. Despite the increase in salary expenses, the bank's efficiency ratio improved slightly to 68.4%. First International Bank merged Bank Otsar Hahayal into itself this year, which will improve its efficiency ratio later.
Upon publication of First International Bank's results, Barber-Tsadik said, "2018 is a year in which important measures were taken, the most prominent of which was the Bank Otsar Hahayal merger. The costs of these steps are included in this year's expenses, while their positive results will materialize in the coming years."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 13, 2019
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