NAIROBI May 7 Pre-tax profit at Kenya's NIC Bank rose 10 percent in the first quarter to 1.35 billion Kenyan shillings ($15.5 million) from a year earlier, helped by higher interest income, the mid-tier lender said on Wednesday.
NIC, which also operates in Tanzania and Uganda, is benefitting from economic growth in the region which is stimulating home ownership and appetite for consumer goods.
NIC, which says it leads the asset financing segment and also operates in Tanzania and Uganda, said net interest income - total interest minus interest expenses - for the quarter rose to 1.73 billion shillings from 1.68 billion shillings in the first quarter of 2013.
It attributed interest income growth to growth in its net loans and advances to customers, which rose 21 percent to 85.45 billion shillings.
Earnings per share rose to 1.79 shillings from 1.60 shillings previously.
Other banks including Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank have reported growth in their first quarter pretax profits.
Kenya estimates its economy grew by 4.7 percent last year, from 2012's 4.6 percent, while Tanzania's economy is expected to grow by 7.2 pct in 2014 and 7.4 pct in 2015.
In Uganda, the central bank projects the economy to grow by 6.0-6.5 percent in the 2014/15 (July-June) fiscal year from an estimated 5.7 percent in 2013/14. ($1 = 87.0500 Kenyan Shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)