Singapore OCBC's net profit up 29 pct to record, beats f'casts

SINGAPORE, April 30 Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:46pm EDT

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SINGAPORE, April 30 (Reuters) - Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp said first-quarter quarterly profit jumped 29 percent to a record, boosted by strong loans and a widening of its net interest margin, beating expectations.

Bigger rival DBS Group Holdings also posted record profit with both banks seeing double-digit loan growth despite a slowdown in the housing market.

OCBC earned a record S$899 million ($716 million) in net profit for the quarter, up from S$696 million in the same period a year earlier, and above an average forecast of S$727 million from four analysts.

"The momentum across our customer franchise is strong and sustaining," OCBC CEO Samuel Tsien said in a statement.

"Our operating profit from all our key markets increased, our asset quality is sound and our capital, funding and liquidity base remains robust." ($1 = 1.2555 Singapore Dollars) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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