Third quarter comparable profit before taxes increased by 121% and comparable ROE increased to 27.4%
OmaSp's business development has continued to be very strong throughout the year. The third quarter was the best in the Company's history in terms of results, and the profit for nine months exceeds EUR 100 million for the first time. Profit development has been boosted by the acquisition carried out in the beginning of the year, the increase in volumes, and the rise in market interest rates. The stream of customers has continued to be strong despite the challenging cyclical situation and over a thousand new customer relationships have been established each month during the third quarter.
During the third quarter, net interest income increased by 103% compared to the previous year. In addition to volume growth, the normalisation of the interest rate environment contributes to strong growth. The rise in fee and commission income and expenses has also continued in the third quarter and fee and commission income and expenses increased by 20% compared to the previous year.
OmaSp's business development at the beginning of the year can be seen as a significant increase in equity. The equity exceeded 500 million for the first time, being approximately EUR 505 million at the end of September. For the third quarter, the comparable return on equity (ROE%) rose to 27.4%, and for the beginning of the year, the comparable return on equity (ROE%) to 25.7%. The comparable cost/income ratio also improved significantly and, for the first time in the third quarter, reached below 30% and was 29.2%. For the beginning of the year, the comparable cost/income ratio was 36.0% including authority fees.
OmaSp continues to prepare for the weakening cyclical situation, and in the third quarter, a total of EUR 5.5 million in credit losses were recorded, of which additional allowances for changes in the economic environment and a one-off item amounted to EUR 2.2 million. The development of credit losses is at the expected level, and our focus is on the effective management of credit risks and securing our customers' finances. The liquidity situation is also strong, and the refinancing market has worked well for banks with high credit ratings.
For the third quarter, the comparable profit before taxes grew by 121% compared to the comparison period and was EUR 41.8 million. For the beginning of the year, the comparable profit before taxes grew by 90% and was nearly EUR 105 million.
Profitable growth at the core of the business – now and in the future
We will continue to implement our strategy and focus on profitable growth and operational efficiency. From the point of view of the owners, there are again interesting things ahead. The project on the application of the IRB approach in capital adequacy is progressing, and in addition, the acquisition of Handelsbanken's Finnish SME business is on the horizon in the autumn of 2024. OmaSp has recently been the most profitable bank in Finland, and we continue the current financial year from excellent starting points. Our eyes are already focused strongly on the future and on the measures, we can take to ensure the bank's success in the future as well.