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SINGAPORE: 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 (Nov 3).

OCBC’s net profit rose to S$1.22 billion in July to 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 per cent to S$163 million. The bank’s total income edged up 1 per cent.

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 reopen its borders with 84 per cent of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The country’s economy is expected to grow 6 to 7 per cent this year.

On Wednesday, United Overseas Bank (UOB) posted a 57 per cent 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 per cent to S$163 million.

Sector leader DBS reports results on Friday.

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