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Standard Chartered third-quarter profit jumps as bank remains 'cautiously optimistic'

Key Points
  • Standard Chartered, which focuses on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, resumed paying out dividends earlier this year.
  • Standard Chartered faces two investigations, one in the U.S. and another in the U.K.
Keith Tsuji | Getty Images

Standard Chartered reported Wednesday an increase in net profit in the third quarter of this year compared to a year ago.

Net profit came in at $752 million in the third quarter of this year. The bank had reported a profit of $557 million in the same period last year. StanChart's pretax profit for the three months to September 30 hit $1.1 billion, beating consensus analyst forecasts of $978 million, Reuters reported.

Here are some of the key highlights for the third quarter:

  • Net interest income: $2.1 billion versus $2 billion a year ago
  • Operating expenses: $2.51 billion versus $2.48 billion a year ago
  • Common Equity Tier 1 ratio: 14.5 percent versus 13.6 percent

Standard Chartered, which focuses on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, resumed paying out dividends earlier this year.

Commenting on the performance, Bill Winters, group chief executive, said: "Income growth year-on-year was slightly lower in the third quarter impacted by Africa and the Middle East and we remain alert to broader geopolitical uncertainties that have affected sentiment in some of our markets. But growth fundamentals remain solid across our markets and we are cautiously optimistic on global economic growth."

Looking at the different divisions, corporate and institutional banking continues to be the largest component of the business. Income in this arm of the bank reached $1.65 billion in the third quarter, just slightly higher from a year ago.

The bank said in the statement that corporate and institutional banking struggled with low deal activity and low client activity due to a flat market performance.

US investigation

Standard Chartered could face a fine of about $1.5 billion from U.S. authorities on an ongoing investigation that studies whether the bank allowed customers to violate Iran sanctions.

"The Group continues to cooperate with authorities in the U.S. regarding an investigation into historical violations of U.S. sanctions laws and regulations," the bank said in a statement, adding that "in the U.S., the vast majority of the issues pre-date 2012 and none occurred after 2014."

There is also an investigation into the bank's activities by U.K. regulators concerning Standard Chartered's financial crime controls.

"The Group is engaged with relevant authorities to resolve these investigations as soon as practicable. Concluding these historical matters, which could have a substantial financial impact, remains a focus of the Group," Standard Chartered said.