National Bank of Abu Dhabi's net profits rose one per cent year-on-year to Dh1.446 billion in the second quarter of 2015 as a decline was seen in earnings from fees and commissions.
The lender said on Wednesday that "its balance sheet growth was strong year-over-year, driven by a strong uptick in lending".
In the second quarter ended June 30, 2015, NBAD said continued lending growth combined with a decline in customer deposits resulted in a higher loan-to-deposit ratio.
Net interest income including income from Islamic financing was up five per cent year-on-year to Dh1.840 billion in the April-June period, while non-interest income was up six per cent year-on-year to Dh878 million.
However, net fees and commissions dropped six per cent to Dh560 million in the period under review.
"Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman of NBAD, said: "In the first half of 2015, NBAD delivered consistent profits in an increasingly difficult environment."
Lower brokerage and investment fees, largely due to slower equity market activity, was the primary contributor to the year-on-year reduction in fee income.
Forex and investment income grew 33 per cent year-on-year to Dh283 million, reflecting strong growth in customer sales franchise and gains on the sale of investment securities, with sequential fluctuations primary due to changes in market volumes and activity and the timing of realisation of gains.
Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman of NBAD, said: "In the first half of 2015, NBAD delivered consistent profits in an increasingly difficult environment."
Assets grew 13 per cent year-on-year to Dh393 billion as at June 30 as increases in loans and advances were offset by a reduction in customer deposits.
Customer deposits slid three per cent to Dh230 billion. Core customer deposits continued to grow with Casa deposits growing 11 per cent year-on-year to Dh71 billion.
Other operating income was Dh35 million in the second quarter, the lender said.
After a strong first half, Alsowaidi said: "We are now well-positioned for the second half of 2015."
Alex Thursby, group chief executive, said: "We continue to execute against our strategy and our franchise is growing well in strategically-targeted areas. We generated strong results in global wholesale flow products, our retail and commercial business, as well as international, which has become an integral part of the development of our wholesale and wealth network businesses."
He said NBAD delivered this growth despite economic and market headwinds, including lower oil prices, margin compression and lower non-customer income in the bank's global markets business.
In the UAE, economic growth is proving to be robust, and the country is well prepared for the possibility of a continuation of lower oil prices. This has been helped by the focus in recent years on diversifying the economy away from a reliance on hydrocarbons.
In fact, non-oil and gas activities now constitute more than 70 per cent of real GDP in the UAE, and solid economic growth is expected for the balance of this year, as well as for 2016 and beyond.