ABU DHABI // Mashreqbank, the country's fifth-largest bank by assets, Saturday announced net profits of Dh484 million (US$131.8m) in the first three months of the year, a 4.1 per cent increase compared with the same quarter last year. The bank attributed the modest gains to its strategic repositioning of assets and an increase in customer deposits. Abdul al Ghurair, the bank's chief executive, who is also Speaker of the Federal National Council, said: "Positive financial results, in addition to ongoing development of alliances both locally and regionally, reflect Mashreq's strength and soundness to maintain operations and accessible services even when the economic tide turns.
"Our main focus now is on our basic banking operation and further cementing our relationship with our clients and partners." Mashreq officials said the bank was diversifying its revenue stream to weather the impact of the global financial crisis. Net interest income increased by 18 per cent to Dh582m for the first quarter. Non-interest income, which comes from fees, commissions and investments, increased by 15 per cent to Dh645m.
The bank, which is the second-oldest in the UAE and one of two not owned in part by the Government, opened a head office in Cairo this year to go with its 10 branches in Egypt. Mashreq said Saturday it also planned to open four Mashreq Gold centres, which provide a comprehensive financial management service, this year as part of its expansion abroad. Last year, Mashreqbank saw profits decline by 13.6 per cent to Dh1.64 billion because of the global financial crisis and a scarcity of credit. Mr al Ghurair said at the time that this year would be a challenging year, with liquidity and capital management as the company's top priorities. @Email:email@example.com