Saudi National Bank, the kingdom’s biggest lender, said on Sunday its net profit in the third quarter rose 18.7% from the same period year before on higher operating income and lower net impairments for expected credit losses.

SNB posted net profit of 4.725 billion riyals ($1.26 billion) in the quarter, up from 3.98 billion riyals a year earlier. That was below the EFG Hermes estimate of 5.25 billion riyals.

Operating income was 8.45 billion riyals, up 7.3% from 7.88 billion riyals a year earlier.

Net impairment charges for expected credit losses were 1.52 billion riyals, less than half the 3.43 billion riyals a year prior.

“Total operating expenses including impairments were lower by 11.5% mainly due to lower staff expenses, amortisation of intangible assets, other general and administrative expenses, and net impairment charge for expected credit losses,” SNB said.

Earnings per share rose to 3.02 riyals from 2.35 riyals.

($1 = 3.7580 riyals)