The retail banking unit of Dutch lender ABN AMRO has posted underlying profit of €377m for the third quarter of 2017, a 15% increase compared to €328m in the previous year.

The bank attributed the rise in profit to lower expense levels and impairment releases.

Compared to the year ago, the unit’s net interest income increased 2% to €866m while operating income remained flat at €978m. Operating expenses at the unit were €499m, down 5% from €524m last year.

The retail banking segment’s cost/income ratio at the end of September 2017 was 51%, compared to 53.6% a year ago.

Overall, the banking group posted underlying profit of €673m for the third quarter of 2017, up 11% from €607m in the same quarter of 2016.

ABN AMRO CEO Kees van Dijkhuizen said: “ABN AMRO had a good third quarter. The Q3 2017 net profit came to EUR 673 million, up 11% year-on-year. All major loan books (the mortgage, commercial and corporate loan books) showed continued growth in constant currencies.

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“Operating income showed a small decline year-on-year, due mainly to divested activities, lower Markets and Clearing fees, Private Equity results and accounting effects. Costs are trending down as the benefits from the IT transformation programme and cost-saving programmes are coming through.”