Jordan’s two biggest lenders reported sharp falls in third-quarter profits as the banks announced large writedowns due to bad loans.

Arab Bank, the country’s largest bank, reported a loss of $148m in the third quarter, although this was less than the $554m loss it made in the same period of 2008.

So far in 2009, the bank has made a profit of $306m, compared with $424m in the first nine months of 2008.

Arab Bank also said that revenue in the third quarter was down 33.2 per cent to JD57.5m, from JD86m in the same period of 2008.

Housing Bank for Trade & Finance also reported a disappointing quarter, although it made a profit of $28m during the three months to the end of September. In the first nine months of 2009, its profits were $68.8m, 45 per cent down on the same period in 2008.

Housing Bank said deposits rose to JD4.1bn ($5.8bn) from JD3.8bn at the end of 2008. The bank failed to disclose the size of its writedowns in the third quarter, but the bank’s chairman said in a statement that the lower profit was due to conservative provisioning.