Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China’s biggest lender by assets, has reported net profit of RMB150.2bn ($22.49bn) for the first half of 2016, a rise of 0.8% compared to the year ago period.

ICBC realised the net profit after making a provision of RMB44.4bn ($6.64bn). The bank’s pre-provision profit for the first half stood at RMB239.5bn ($35.8bn).

The total amount of newly disbursed loans during the period was RMB1.8 trillion ($269.4bn), which include RMB569.9bn ($85.3bn) of new loans and RMB1.2 trillion ($179.7bn) was re-lending of existing loans.

As at 30 June 2016, the bank’s non-performing loans (NPL) ratio stood at 1.55%.

Commenting on its half-yearly performance, the bank said: “In the first half of 2016, despite a more challenging and severe external environment, ICBC, by promoting transformation, tapping potentialities and improving efficiency,  maintained a stable operation and played its part in serving the quality and efficiency improvement of the real economy.

“The intermediary segment, which satisfies the needs of the real economy and clients with a precondition of compliance with relevant regulatory requirements, achieved a rapid growth with net fees and commissions amounting to RMB81.7 billion, representing a 6% year-on-year increase, and its revenue contribution increased by 3.4 percentage points to 24.84%, becoming a critical driver for the growth of overall profit.”