October 23, 2018 / 1:30 PM / 21 days ago

CORRECTED-Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank Q3 profit rises

(Corrects figures in headline, first and second paragraph)

DUBAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB), the kingdom’s largest lender by assets, reported a 15.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday, helped in part by an increase in net special commission income and fees from banking services.

The bank made a net profit of 2.45 billion riyals ($653.05 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, up from 2.13 billion riyals in the same period of 2017, it said in a bourse statement.

SICO Bahrain forecast NCB would make a quarterly profit of 2.46 billion riyals.

Saudi banks are expected to benefit from a pick-up in credit growth in 2018, as well as an improvement in margins as a result of interest rate hikes.

Deposits at the bank, which has the closest ties to the government, rose 7.6 percent year on year to 325.46 billion riyals, while loans and advances at the end of the period stood at 268.25 billion riyals, up 4.4 percent on a year earlier.

The bank said total operating income rose by 5.3 percent due to a rise in net special commission income, fees from banking services and foreign exchange income, as well as a lowering of some expenses. That was offset by a drop in investment related income. ($1 = 3.7516 riyals) (Reporting By Tom Arnold; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans)

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