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National Bank of Greece 1st Quarter Loss 537 Million Euro

National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, posted a first-quarter loss as the national economic slump caused non-performing loans to rise and the bank had a trading loss.

The net loss was 537 million euros ($665 million) after a profit of 157 million euros a year earlier, according to a faxed statement from the Athens-based lender. The first-quarter loss from trading was 271 million euros, the bank said.

“Against a backdrop of extreme uncertainty, NBG continues to encounter unprecedented challenges,” Chief Executive Officer Apostolos Tamvakakis said in the statement. A recent injection of 7.4 billion euros from Greece’s recapitalization fund has boosted the bank’s capital adequacy and secures “uninterrupted access to liquidity” from the European Central Bank, he said.

Greece’s four biggest banks needed an 18 billion-euro bridge recapitalization this week after reporting a combined loss of 28 billion euros in 2011 as they wrote down their Greek government bond holdings. The banks were shut off from ECB refinancing operations, depending on the Bank of Greece’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance program, pending the capital injection.

National Bank’s deposits in the first quarter stood at 57.4 billion euros, down 15 percent from a year earlier, while its core tier one capital ratio stood at 6.4 percent, the bank said in the statement.

Piraeus Bank SA, Greece’s fourth-biggest lender, said first-quarter net income rose to 298 million euros from 9 million euros a year earlier, according to a separate statement.

Deposits in Greece fell by 1.3 billion euros in April and May after a 2.3 billion-euro outflow in the first quarter, National Bank said. The figures are “well within manageable levels,” the bank said.

The outflows in the past three weeks are a “phenomenon that appears to be losing momentum,” Tamvakakis said.

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