Singapore banks OCBC, UOB post profit jump on lower credit charges

A woman walks into an OCBC Premier Banking branch in Singapore
FILE PHOTO: A woman walks into an Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) Premier Banking branch in Singapore February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

November 3, 2021

By Anshuman Daga

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

“This quarter, the momentum across our banking, wealth management and insurance business has continued to grow, as reflected by loan, net new money, fee and insurance sales growth,” Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) Group Chief Executive Helen Wong, who took charge in April, said in a statement on Wednesday.

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

As the credit environment improved, OCBC’s allowances for credit losses dropped by 54% to S$163 million. The bank’s total income edged up 1%.

Globally, banks have rolled back credit impairment charges taken last year and are benefiting from improved economic activities.

Singapore, recovering from last year’s record recession, is beginning to re-open 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.

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

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

Sector leader DBS reports results on Friday.

($1 = 1.3488 Singapore dollars)

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