UOB net profit up 4.9% for the first quarter to record of $722 million

United Overseas Bank's first-quarter net earnings has hit a new record, rising 4.9 per cent from the same period a year ago to $722 million.

This was mainly due to strong growth in fee income and loans, which helped to mitigate the effects of tight interest margins, the bank said in a statement on Thursday.

Net interest income for the first quarter dipped 3.5 per cent from a year ago to $964 million due to a decrease in asset yields.

Net interest margin was also lower, at 1.7 per cent.

However, fee and commission income rose 25.2 per cent over the same period to reach a record of $453 million.

"The sterling performance in fee income was underpinned by strong growth in lending, fund management, capital market and wealth management businesses," the bank said.