SR-Bank strengthens its position as the district`s bank of choice
* Profit growth of 8% to NOK 111 million in the 1st quarter
The SR-Bank group achieved a 1st quarter profit before tax of NOK 110.6 million. This is an increase of NOK 8 million (8%) compared with the same period last year. The growth in profits is due to increased interest income, increased cost-effectiveness and good quality in the loan portfolio.
A healthy financial position and good liquidity on the part of our customers provided the group with a record-breaking growth in customer deposits amounting to 16.9%. In comparison, deposits during the first quarter of last year increased by less than 1%. The group`s lending so far this year has increased by 4.5% to NOK 25.3 billion, which gives an annual growth of 15.8%. The net interest margin at the end of March constituted 2.56% of the total assets, compared with 2.72% at the beginning of the year. The growth in net commission revenues has declined compared with last year. The growth in the 1st quarter was 6% compared with last year. Losses and defaults remain low.
For the first quarter of the year, the group`s operating expenses amounted to NOK 128 million. This constituted 1.87% measured in relation to the total assets, which is an improvement from 2.17% for the same period last year. This is a significant improvement in the bank`s cost-effectiveness which is caused by good growth in volume and zero growth in operating expenses. Information technology costs have been reduced by 15% compared with the 1st quarter of last year. At the same time, personnel and marketing costs have increased somewhat.
The group`s profit provides a return on equity after tax of 19.2%.
The Board expects a satisfactory development for the remainder of the year.
Stavanger, 23 April 1998
The Board of Directors of Sparebanken Rogaland
Additional information may be obtained from Managing Director Arne Norheim, tel. + 47 51 50 95 55, Deputy Managing Director Gunnar Dolven, tel. + 47 51 50 95 56 and Chief Financial Director Sveinung Hestnes, tel. + 47 51 50 95 58.