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Pohjola Bank Retreats on Dimmer Outlook for Lending, Loan Losses

Pohjola Bank Oyj, the publicly-traded arm of co-operative banking and insurance group OP-Pohjola, slid the most in almost three years after warning of possible loan losses.

Pohjola shares slumped as much as 7.6 percent to 11.44 euros, the most since May 2010, and fell 7.5 percent at 12:42 p.m. in the Finnish capital. It was the biggest drop on the Nasdaq OMX Helsinki 25 index.

Pohjola Bank said today prospects for growth in its loan portfolio are “dimmer” than last year and the biggest uncertainty relates to possible loan losses. Net interest income for the group will be lower this year than in 2012, Pohjola said.

The lender’s net interest income slid 13 percent to 62 million euros ($83.9 million) in the fourth quarter from a year ago, while net income more than doubled to 69 million euros. The bank tax passed by the Finnish parliament in December will cost Pohjola an additional 19 million euros this year.

The stock is trading near its 12-month price estimate of 11.86 euros compiled by Bloomberg. Volume of shares traded was about 340,000, or 104 percent of the three-month daily average.

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