First Gulf Bank (FGB), the second-largest lender by market value in the UAE, posted a 27 percent jump in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, becoming the latest UAE bank to post strong quarterly profit growth.
FGB, majority-owned by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, made a net profit of AED1.33 billion ($362.1 million) in the three months to March 31, up from AED1.05 billion in the prior-year period, it said in a statement.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average had forecast FGB would make a quarterly profit of AED1.23 billion.
UAE banks in general have recorded impressive growth in the first quarter, continuing the trend from 2013, as the local economy rebounds from a real estate crash and debt problems at Dubai government-linked entities.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank posted year-on-year profit increases of 15 and 20 percent respectively earlier this week.
Smaller lenders have also benefited: on Wednesday, United Arab Bank, National Bank of Fujairah and National Bank of Umm al-Qaiwain posted increases of 34, 27 and 9 percent.
FGB's increase in net profit was aided by a 17 percent increase in net interest and Islamic financing income, and a 27 percent leap in non-interest income year-on-year.
The latter was a reflection of the bank's strategy to strengthen its wholesale and investment banking businesses, chief executive Andre Sayegh said in the statement.
FGB expects to achieve net profit growth in the low double digits in 2014, Sayegh said in February.
Despite the improving economic picture, FGB's impairment allowances for the three months to March 31 were almost flat against the same quarter last year at AED436 million.
Loans and advances rose 7 percent to stand at AED123.4 billion at the end of March. Deposits grew 9 percent over the same time frame to AED119.2 billion.
Last month, the bank priced its debut bond denominated in Australian dollars, a A$250 million five-year issue, while it also set up a sukuk programme in Malaysia.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.