The net risk cost increased to 673 million lei (€159 million), from 226 million lei (€62 million) in the same period of last year.

“The global economic downturn continued to pinch banks’ operation in third quarter, which reflected in the sluggish demand for banking products and services especially among individuals and in the increase of non-performing loan ratio”, chief executive of BRD, Patrick Gelin.

The gross operating profit grew 22% at the end of third quarter year-on-year, up to 1.465 bln lei (€346 million). The net banking income climbed 18% YoY in the period under review, to 2.53 billion lei (€598 million).

The bank’s assets totaled 47.9billion lei (€11.4 billion) at the end of September this year, up 7.6% from 44.5 billion lei a year earlier, but down 2.7% versus end-2008.

The bank’s total lending stood at 33 billion lei, 8% more than the same period of last year. Retail sector accounted for 15.8 billion lei in the bank’s loan book, 4% above year-ago levels.

Business loans increased by 12% in the twelve months to September, to 17.2 billion lei.

“However, we can observe a mild increase in credit demand in third quarter 2009”, the bank said in a press release.

The customers’ deposits increased at an annual rate of 1% at the end of September, to 30.2 billion lei.

“Even though the net risk costs increased considerably, it remains within reasonable limits due to a good risk management”, BRD said. However, the bank didn’t provide additional details on its NPL ratio in its loan book throughout the 12 months ending September 30, but mentioned “BRD keeps its leading position compared to the banking system’s average”.

The return on equity hovered near 21.6% at the end of third quarter, while cost to income ratio remained at 42.1%.

BRD-Groupe Societe Generale had at the end of September 2.6 million customers. The bank issues 2.2 million cards and operates a network of 1,450 ATMs and 20,000 POSs.