National Bank of Abu Dhabi increased profits in the third quarter by more than analysts expected as it expanded overseas and operations began in Malaysia and mainland China.
The biggest bank in the capital, NBAD generated net profits in the third quarter of Dh1.12 billion (US$305 million), an increase of 9.1 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Analysts had expected earnings of Dh1.07bn.
The bank had maintained a steady stream of increasing profits as it expanded overseas, said Michael Tomalin, NBAD's chief executive.
"We experienced continued growth in the third quarter and are on track to meet our expectations for the full year," he said.
"Top line growth was solid, and our expenses reflect the continuing investments we are making in our people, technology and new business opportunities.
Both our liquidity and capital positions remain strong."
NBAD opened a representative office in Shanghai in June to complement its Hong Kong offices and established conventional banking operations in Malaysia in July.
Lending was flat during the quarter, with the bank's vast loan book of Dh162.9bn edging up just Dh140m during the three months.
NBAD is currently in breach of new Central Bank lending limits capping exposures to governments and their related holding companies, but it said it had received an extension from the Central Bank.
At its shareholder meeting this year, NBAD laid out plans to quadruple its annual earnings by 2021 by expanding in emerging markets across the globe.
The bank aims to triple the number of countries in which it operates.
Despite the growth of the bank's total assets to Dh304.5bn, an increase of 19.1 per cent since the start of the year, NBAD failed to overtake Emirates NBD to become the biggest bank in the country.
The Dubai-based lender reported assets at the end of the third quarter totalling Dh305.3bn, having grown by 7.2 per cent during the same period.
Asked on Monday whether Emirates NBD was likely to retain its crown as biggest bank in the country, Surya Subramanian, the bank's chief financial officer, said: "As long as the banks in the system are doing well, it's for the best of the system. We don't begrudge success to anyone in this respect.".
Elsewhere, National Bank of Fujairah reported a 9.2 per cent increase in net profits to Dh82.6m, compared with the same period a year earlier.