Record profit for StanChart

Steve Dinneen
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THE booming Asian economies pushed Standard Chartered to record first-quarter earnings.

The bank said yesterday it has had “a very strong start to the year” despite fierce competition in its core Asian markets.

It did not release profit figures for the quarter but said 2010 promises to be a bumper year.

Standard Chartered was pulled through the financial crisis relatively unscathed by chief executive Peter Sands, underpinned by strong capital and liquidity positions.

Growth at the bank has been driven by its wholesale arm, which last year accounted for nearly 85 per cent of group earnings.

Standard Chartered’s consumer banking has fared less well in recent years as bad debts rose and its Korean business struggled. The bank said the business turned a corner last year, however, and the head of steam built up momentum which continued into the first quarter – up over 10 per cent from a year ago. However, the strong growth in its mortgage business was more than cancelled out by rising competition from local businesses.

Bad debts in wholesale remain good, with no new impairments. It has also improved in consumer banking. The bank escaped any major hits from its Middle East exposure.