Andreas Treichl, CEO of Erste Group Bank AG on the Q3 2018 results:
"We are pleased that our strong operating performance and net profit in the first nine months of this year were driven by several healthy developments: all our home markets have been enjoying robust economic growth; we have been performing very well in Retail and SME business, increasing overall loans (+6.3% year to date) and deposits (+5.9% year to date); and we have also increased our digital advantage and improved customers' experience thanks to George, our pan-European digital platform that is now being used by over 3 million customers in four markets.
As the countries in CEE region are mostly riding a really good economic wave right now, our NPL ratio continued to decline to 3.5%. The NPL coverage remains high at 70.7%. On the other hand, we are experiencing incredibly low risk costs, which we should treat as a gift that will not be here forever. This makes the trend reversal that we have achieved in the operating result, driven by sustained growth in our core revenues – net interest and net fee and commission income were up 4.4% and 5.1%, respectively – all the more important. Equally significant for our future is the strong level of our capitalization: taking into account the net profit for third quarter and the positive impact of about 30 basis points resulting from the approval of a new operational risk model, our CET 1 ratio (Basel 3 fully loaded, pro forma) stands at 13.2%.
Based on this solid set of results, we are improving our outlook for the full year 2018 and target a return on tangible equity above 12%,"