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National Bank of Kenya reported a 68 percent plunge in pretax profits for the first-nine months of the year to 577 million shillings ($6.74 million) due to a steep raise in interest expenses, it said on Tuesday.

The lender, which bucked the trend of double-digit growth reported by its peers, said in a statement that interest expense rose 279 percent to 2.9 billion shillings in the period to the end of September. The bank's total operating costs also rose 25 percent to 5.0 billion shillings.

Source: Reuters