A Bank Hapoalim branch.
A Bank Hapoalim branch. Photo by Lior Mizrahi
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Bank Hapoalim reported a rise in quarterly net profit, booking higher-than-expected provisions for credit losses, though the country's largest lender came in slightly lower than analysts' expectations.

The bank posted a third-quarter net profit of NIS 653 million ($184.5 million) on Wednesday, up from NIS 625 million a year earlier and just missing expectations of NIS 657 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Net financing income edged up to NIS 2.117 billion from NIS 2.115 billion, while credit loss provisions rose to NIS 375 million from NIS 286 million.

Analysts had forecast net financing income of NIS 2.049 billion and credit loss provisions of NIS 297 million.

Hapoalim said the increase in the provisions "reflects a cautious approach towards the current state of the Israeli economy."

Hapoalim's core Tier 1 capital ratio to risk-weighted assets rose to 9.3 percent from 8.9 percent at the end of 2012.

The banking regulator requires banks to hold core Tier 1 ratio of at least 9 percent by the start of 2015, as part of a global drive to strengthen the industry and prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

The bank declared a dividend of NIS 92 million for the quarter, similar to the second quarter. In July, the bank said it would reinstate a cash dividend on a regular quarterly basis for the first time since the global financial crisis in 2008.