UPDATE 1-Jordan's Arab Bank group H1 net profits drop 66% to $152.1 mln

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AMMAN, July 25 (Reuters) – Jordan’s largest lender, Arab Bank Group, reported a 66% year-on-year drop in first-half net profit to $152.1 million, saying its revenues were hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional and global economies.

The bank, one of the Middle East’s major financial institutions, also said on Saturday that total loans rose 2% to $26.7 billion as of the end of June, while deposits climbed 5% to $35.9 billion. Group equity stood at $9.2 billion, it said.

Lower interest rates and weakening oil prices hurt revenues, it said.

Chairman Sabih al Masri said that while the impact of the pandemic was unprecedented, the bank was helped by a diversified presence in many markets.

Arab Bank operates in 30 countries on five continents and owns 40% of Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank (ANB).

Chief Executive Officer Nemeh Sabbagh said liquidity continued to be high, with a loan-to-deposit ratio of 74.4% as of the end of June. The bank’s provisions coverage ratio for non-performing loans continued to be in excess of 100%. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Mark Potter)

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