WHOLESALE BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

OCBC posts record profit of S$899m in 1Q

That's an impressive 29% jump.

According to a release, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited reported a net profit after tax of S$899 million for the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 29% from S$696 million a year ago. Sustained momentum across all customer-related businesses contributed to record total income, which rose 19% to S$1.89 billion. Costs were also well-managed, with operating expenses rising 5% year-on-year to S$706 million.

Net interest income surged 19% from S$912 million a year ago to reach a quarterly high of S$1.09 billion, driven by robust, broad-based asset growth and a 6 basis point widening of net interest margin to 1.70%. Customer loans increased 18% year-on-year to S$175 billion, spread across all customer segments and key markets.

The improvement in net interest margin from 1.64% a year ago to 1.70% was mainly attributable to higher loan spreads as well as increased income from money market activities and gapping opportunities.
The Group’s non-interest income rose to S$800 million in 1Q14, 18% higher than S$676 million a year ago. Fee and commission income grew 12% to a record S$353 million from S$316 million in 1Q13, attributed to increased contributions from wealth management, loan-related and trade-related activities. 

Net trading income, primarily treasury income from customer flows, at S$99 million was higher than S$56 million reported a year ago. Net gains from the sale of investment securities increased 10% to S$52 million.
The Group also recorded a one-off gain of S$32 million from the partial disposal of Great Eastern Holdings’ stake in its China joint venture. Profit from life assurance was S$183 million, a 2% rise from S$178 million the previous year. 

Great Eastern Holdings’ underlying insurance business achieved strong year-on-year performance, as reflected by 12% growth in new business weighted premiums and an 11% increase in new business embedded value.

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