The Romanian economy recorded a dynamic recovery in the first three quarters of 2021, confirming the widely anticipated recovery and setting the premises for a solid economic growth at the end of 2021. From a banking system perspective, lending demand has grown at a solid pace, with new volumes reaching the highest levels since 2009.
Robust positive dynamics have been recorded on both retail and legal entities segments. Thus, amid a favorable macroeconomic and banking context, our commercial activity outperformed. Mortgage loan production grew by 41% year-on-year, thus taking the outstanding balance of the portfolio above the Euro 1.3 billion threshold. A similar performance was achieved on the consumer lending, with new sales doubling in the first nine months compared to the same period of 2020. Furthermore, we continued to support businesses through funding granted to both large customers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Thus, production of loans granted to SMEs reached the highest level in the last decade, reaffirming our position of financer of the economy and, at the same time, supporter of the economic recovery. The active participation in the programs implemented by the Romanian Government to support the business environment has contributed positively to this performance. Considering the national development plans and the European resources that Romania intends to attract in the coming years for implementing reforms and investments, Alpha Bank Romania signed in August 2021, a convention with the Agency for Rural Investment Financing (AFIR) to accelerate the absorption of European Funds allocated under the National Rural Development Program for the period 2021 – 2022.
During the third quarter, we continued to diversify the channel-mix offered to our customers. Thus, we expanded the self-service infrastructure by increasing the network of multifunctional machines (ATM 24/7 Banking), making this technology available to customers in over 65% of our network and we have broadened the range of operations that may be performed through this equipment.
Financial Results for the Nine Months:
At the end of September 2021, Alpha Bank’s loan portfolio stood at Euro 2.7 billion, 1.5% higher compared to the same period of previous year. Robust commercial activity on the retail segment materialized in a 41% annual advance of mortgage sales, taking the outstanding balance of the portfolio above the Euro 1.3 billion threshold. On the corporate side, the positive dynamics of the market, as well as our active involvement in the most important government support programs, led to a robust growth in the SME segment (+22% compared to the same period of the previous year). On the deposits side, customer resources stood at Euro 2.6 billion.
Profit before tax reached Euro 20.1 million, topping expectations for the period. At an operating level, the solid increase in net fees and commission income (over 22% compared to the same period of the previous year) offset lower NII stemming primarily from operating in a low interest rate environment. As such, net banking income has a rather flat evolution compared to the same period of previous year.