National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has reported nine-month earnings of BD 13.6 million ($36 million), an 8 per cent improvement on the same period of last year.

The main driver of the improved performance was a strengthening of net interest income. The bank has focused on its core lending business in the corporate and retail markets. After a slow start to the year, in which loans and advances to non-banks declined, the third quarter has seen a turnaround with NBB’s loan book expanding sharply. However, the growth in lending has not been matched by customer deposits, which declined by 7 per cent between the end of June and the end of September.