RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Malaysia

Maybank's first quarter profit up 25% to $409.4mn

Yet the lender is still cautious of weakening global economic conditions which could signal rough times ahead.

Malaysia's Malayan Banking Bhd reported on Monday a 25 percent increase in its first-quarter net profit to 1.28 billion ringgit ($409.4 million), riding on the region's economic growth.

Malaysian banks have reported healthy earnings in recent quarters, thanks to steady economic growth in the region particularly in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, but weakening global economic conditions could signal rough times ahead for the lenders.

"While we remain cautious of possible impact from any weakening in external demand and will be vigilant in our monitoring, we are cognizant of areas where growth remains strong," Maybank's chief executive Abdul Wahid Omar said in a statement.

Maybank, the country's top lender, also warned that net interest margins, or the difference between what a bank pays out to depositors and what it takes in from making loans, remained under pressure, falling another 23 basis points to 2.46 percent during the quarter.

Maybank said its revenue rose 21 percent to 6.1 billion ringgit while profit before tax was up by a quarter to 1.8 billion ringgit for the three months to end-September 2011.

The bank said it attributed the improved performance to better all-round contributions from its business divisions, except insurance, which saw a significant decline of 72 percent from the previous quarter.

View the full story in Reuters.

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