OCBC's first quarter net profit slides 16% to $696 million

OCBC Bank reported first quarter profits of $696 million on Tuesday, a slide of 16 per cent from the $832 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding gains from the divestment of non-core assets in the first quarter of last year, core net profits was 12 per cent lower.

The impact of lower net interest margins offset loans growth, with net interest income down 4 per cent from last year to $912 million.

Fee and commission income was up 15 per cent in the three months ended Mar 31, to $316 million, boosted by growth in wealth management, loan-related and fund management income.

Operating expenses increased 8 per cent to $672 million, on the back of a 10 per cent spike in staff-related costs increased to $421 million. The year-on-year increase was largely attributed to a 7 per cent growth in staff strength.