WARSAW, July 27 (Reuters) – Bank Millennium BIGW.WA, one of Poland’s lenders hardest hit by the global financial crisis, said on Tuesday it had loosened its credit policy in the first half on an improving economic environment.
The bank, which is controlled by Portugal’s Millennium bcp (BCP.LS), slammed the brakes on its lending more than a year ago after interbank markets dried up and the Polish zloty tumbled, hurting its credit book, which included a large number of foreign currency mortgages.
“The change of the economic situation confirmed by the economic indicators and the improved condition of corporations in the first quarter of 2010 allowed for a change in internal credit policy of the bank taken on at the turn of 2008 and 2009,” Millennium said.
The bank, which boosted its capital by 1 billion zlotys ($318 million) at the beginning of this year, said its first half net profit rose to 138 million zlotys from 21 million in the same period of 2009 thanks to lower bad loan provisions and stronger revenue.
Analysts expected Millennium to earn 134 million zlotys, according to a Reuters poll of nine analysts.
Millennium is the first Polish lender to report results after the second quarter.
It did not break out a quarterly earnings figure for the three months ending in June, but according to Reuters calculations it stood at 70 million zlotys.
Millennium shares have risen 13 percent this year compared with a 7 percent gain of Warsaw’s banking index .BNKI. ($1=3.142 Zloty) (Reporting by Chris Borowski; editing by Simon Jessop)