Bank Leumi and Bank Discount, two of Israel’s leading banks published their financial results today. Both reported excellent results, and thanks to cost-cutting, both have become very profitable. After undergoing several self-inflicted wounds, including legal difficulties in the United States, Israel’s banking sector as a whole has emerged stronger and more profitable than ever.
Bank Leumi Has Another Excellent Quarter
Bank Leumi reported net income of NIS 2.015 billion in the first half of 2019, with revenue up 23.4% in the first half of last year. Leumi’s return on equity rose to 11.4% during the first half of the year, compared to a rate of 9.4% during the first half of 2018.
Leumi’s net income for the second quarter was NIS 923 million, up from NIS 903 million in the second quarter of 2018. However, Leumi’s income last year included profits from the sale of its LeumiCard credit card division. Net profit from the sale of the card division second quarter last year showed profits of NIS 843 million.
The bank continued to improve its efficiency, reporting an efficiency ratio of 53.1%, compared to 61.7% for the same period last year.
Credit loss expenses increased slightly to 0.19% during the first half of 2019, from 0.05% during the same period the previous year.
Bank Leumi will distribute a dividend of 40% of its net profits. Shareholders’ equity totaled NIS 35.8 billion, as of June 30, 2019, compared with NIS 34.7 billion as of June 30, 2018.
Net credit to the public totaled NIS 277.1 billion, as of June 30, 2019, compared with NIS 264.2 billion, as of June 30, 2018, (excluding Leumi Card). The increase is primarily attributed to mortgage, middle-market, and corporate loans.
Deposits into Leumi by the public totaled NIS 373.2 billion, as at June 30, 2019, compared with NIS 361.2 billion at June 30, 2018, (excluding Leumi Card).
Bank Discount Reports Record Profits
Bank Discount reported net profits of NIS 950 million in the first half of 2019, up 28% from the profits a year earlier. During the second quarter of 2019, Discount recorded profits of NIS 545 million, up 28.8% which represents a 12.8% return on equity.
The bank also reported that it’s lending to the public is up 10.1% from one year ago. Discount’s mortgage lending is up 14.2%, and its income from interest is up 12.3%. Discount also recorded an increase of 4.6% in fee income. The bank’s operating expenses during the first half of 2019 were 5.3% higher than a year ago.
During the first half of 2019, Bank Discount’s operating efficiency improved from 61.4%, compared to 65.6% one year earlier.