Singaporean banks OCBC and UOB report higher profits thanks to lower credit charges

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s second and third largest lenders reported better-than-expected quarterly profit increases, building on a recovery in markets hit by the pandemic and supported by lower provisions for credit losses.

“This quarter, the momentum in our banking, wealth management and insurance businesses continued to grow, as evidenced by growth in sales of loans, net new money, fees and insurance,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) group, which took charge in April, said in a statement Wednesday.

OCBC’s net profit reached S $ 1.22 billion ($ 904.5 million) in July-September, up from S $ 1.03 billion in the same period a year earlier and compared to the S $ 936 million average of four analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

As the credit environment improved, OCBC credit loss provisions fell 54% to S $ 163 million. The bank’s total income increased slightly by 1%.

Globally, banks have reduced charges for credit write-downs taken last year and are benefiting from improved economic activity.

Singapore, which is recovering from last year’s record recession, is starting to reopen its borders with 84% of its population fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The city-state’s economy is expected to grow 6-7% this year.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) on Wednesday posted a 57% increase in net income to S $ 1.05 billion, from S $ 668 million in the same period of the year. That was ahead of the average estimate of S $ 982.4 million from four analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

UOB’s impairment charges fell 66% to S $ 163 million.

Sector leader DBS publishes its results on Friday.

($ 1 = 1.3488 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Christopher Cushing and Sam Holmes)

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