DBS continued to see higher staff expenditure in the second quarter of its 2022 fiscal year.
Consequently, the bank’s first half (H1) staff expenses grew 7% year-on-year to S$2.05bn. The higher staff spending came on the back of a 4% growth in staff size to 33,475 employees at the end of the period (versus 32,341 a year ago).
Together with other expenses (operations and others), total expenses for H1 2022 came in 5% higher year-on-year at S$3.3bn. However, total expenses remained largely unchanged on a quarterly basis.
Overall, DBS’s net profit of S$1.82bn in this latest quarterly earnings report was the second highest ever recorded. It surpassed Refinitiv analyst estimates of around S$1.69bn.
Total income for Q2 2022 rose by 6% from a year ago to S$3.79bn, while return on equity climbed to 13.4% from 12.7% in Q2 2021.
The group said business momentum was “sustained”, as loans rose 3% in the first half, with fee income streams (minus wealth management and investment banking) coming in higher than a year ago.
Net interest margin (NIM), a key indicator of a bank’s profitability and growth, rose to 1.52% compared to 1.47% a year ago. NIM, which had been declining since 2019, rose in the first quarter with the start of interest rate hikes. It accelerated another 12 basis points in the second quarter.
On the balance sheet, asset quality continued to be ‘resilient’ and ‘robust’, with non-performing loan ratio stable at 1.3% over the six months.
Group CEO Piyush Gupta said DBS’s performance was “strong”, despite “challenging financial market conditions”.
Looking ahead, Gupta said that while the macroeconomic outlook remains uncertain, the bank should “benefit from rapidly rising interest rates”.
“The income growth will improve the cost-income ratio in the coming quarters even as we judiciously invest for the future,” he said, adding that loans are expected to grow by 2% across the full financial year.
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