United Overseas Bank (UOB) has beaten market expectations with a 3.3 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit to $730 million.
UOB, the third of the three local banks to post its results for the period ended Sept 30, performed strongly in various segments.
The bottom line was well above the average estimate of a Bloomberg poll at $707 million.
In a statement on Tuesday, UOB chief executive Wee Ee Cheong said the "decent set of results this quarter" was driven by steady core income and growth in UOB's regional franchise.
Net interest income rose 7.7 per cent to $1.046 billion for the three months to Sept 30, a quarterly record. This was on the back of loans growth and a stable net interest margin of 1.71 per cent.
Gross customer loans grew 2.1 per cent to $177 billion, compared with the same period last year.
Non-performing loan ratio improved to 1.2 per cent from 1.6 per cent in the same period last year.
Non-interest income fell 10.9 per cent to $618 million, year on year. Included in that number is fee and commission income, which was up 9.2 per cent to $407 million as the bank saw strong contributions from wealth management and trade-related activities.
DBS Bank, which released its results last Friday, reported that its third-quarter net profit rose 1 per cent to $862 million, while net interest income grew 6 per cent to a record $1.41 billion.
Its non-interest income grew 11 per cent to $744 million, fee income grew 9 per cent to $462 million and its non-performing loan ratio was 1.2 per cent.
Over at OCBC Bank, third-quarter earnings fell 59 per cent to $759 million, but this still beat the average $662 million estimate by analysts. This was due to a $1.13 billion gain from selling stakes in Asia Pacific Breweries and Fraser & Neave a year earlier.
OCBC also reported a record net interest income, which grew 4 per cent to $978 million on the back of strong customer loans.
Non-interest income fell 61 per cent to $779 million, fees and commissions rose 16 per cent to a record $352 million and its non-performing loan ratio was 0.8 per cent.
Both OCBC and UOB were recently reported to be looking at a bid for Hong Kong-based, family-owned Wing Hang Bank.
But Mr Wee said only that UOB's strong balance sheet would allow it to "continue investing in regional capabilities". He added: "While the United States economy appears to have avoided the fiscal cliff and QE (quantitative easing) tapering has been postponed for now, the lack of clarity on these fronts will continue to impact Asia."
Despite the uncertainty ahead, he said that intra-regional trade and wealth management activities continue to expand.
Quarterly earnings per share were $1.74, up from $1.69 a year earlier, while net asset value per share was $14.92 as at Sept 30, up from $14.88 as at June 30. The counter closed two cents higher at $20.08 on Tuesday.
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