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Maybank nine month pre-tax profit up 4.7%

Maybank, part of the largest banking group in Malaysia, has posted a 4.7% rise in pre-tax profit to MYR2.81 billion for the nine months ending March 31.

<p>For the three months January-March 2006, profit after tax declined 6.6% to MYR641.2 million from MYR686.7 million previously, which the bank attributed to lower taxation and zakat (an Islamic practice relating to spending a fixed portion of wealth on society&#0039;s poor) in the previous corresponding quarter.<br /><br />Strong growth in loans, especially to small-to-medium enterprises, helped boost profits during the nine month period. Islamic banking also expanded during the period and income from Islamic hire purchase increased by 40.6%.<br /><br />The improvements in the results for the nine months were achieved despite an aggressive provisioning policy which saw all non-performing loans aged above seven years and 75% of those aged between five and seven written off. In the previous period only non-performing loans aged over nine years were written off.<br /><br />The policy required an additional provision of MYR391.6 million and resulted in a decline in the bank&#0039;s annualized net return on equity, which fell from 16.97% to 15.99% compared to the year ago period.</p>