Hong Kong-based lender Bank of East Asia (BEA) reported a strong 75% jump in net profits for the first half ended June 30 to HKD 2.67bn ($343mn). The region’s largest independent and family-run bank attributed the strong earnings to declining impairment costs for bad loans in mainland China and Hong Kong. Net charge of impairment losses fell 80% YoY to HKD 581mn ($75mn). BEA’s Hong Kong business delivered pre-tax profits of HKD 1.99bn ($256mn), up 79% YoY on the back of higher fee income, reduced impairments and a “positive swing in mark-to-market revaluations”, as reported by SCMP. The lender’s mainland business on the other hand reported pre-tax profits of HKD 415mn ($53mn) for 1H2021 vs. a pre-tax loss of HKD 602mn ($77mn). During the six month period, BEA sold its life insurance unit to AIA Group for $653mn after a strategic review suggested by asset manager Elliott Management. The bank’s CET1 ratio stood at 16.9% as of June 30, up from 16.5% on December 31, 2020. It declared an interim dividend of HKD 0.35 per share vs. HKD 0.16 during the same period last year.