Saudi Arabia’s largest lender by assets, National Commercial Bank (NCB), posted a 19.4 per cent increase in first-quarter net profit on the back of higher special commission and fee income, it said on Sunday.
The majority state-owned bank reported a net profit of SAR2.33 billion ($621.3 million) for the first three months of 2013, compared to SAR1.95 billion in the corresponding period of last year, the bank said in a statement.
The profit jump was driven by a 10.4 per cent increase in special commission income and a 7.2 per cent hike in fee income from banking services, Mansour al-Maiman, chairman of NCB, said in the statement without elaborating.
Unlisted NCB reported loans and advances climbed 19.9 per cent year-on-year to stand at SAR171 billion at the end of March, while customer deposits grew 11.6 per cent to SAR277 billion.
Bank lending growth in Saudi Arabia dipped from December’s 46-month high of 16.4 per cent in the first two months of 2013, but it was still rapid at 15.9 per cent in January and 15.6 per cent in February.
Standard & Poor’s said in a March report on the Gulf Cooperation Council banking sector that loan growth at Saudi banks would remain strong this year, given healthy demand in both the retail and corporate sectors.
The bank’s government stake is held between two state funds, with 69.3 per cent controlled by the Public Investment Fund and 10 per cent by the General Organisation for Social Insurance. The remaining stock is privately held, according to Fitch Ratings, which affirmed NCB’s rating at A+ in December.