Profits leap at Barclays to £1.82bn

Barclays has recorded a 47% increase in pre-tax profit for the first three months of the year to hit £1.82bn.

Underlying pre-tax profit, which strips out gains made from acquisitions and disposals, rose by 90% from the same time last year.

Barclays’ UK retail banking division made a profit of £238m for Q1, up 20% for Q1 2009.

Gross new lending balances to UK households and businesses is up £16bn, including a £7bn gain from the acquisition of Standard Life Bank.

Net mortgage lending for the quarter was £2.3bn, with gross mortgage lending excluding Standard Life Bank at £4.3bn.

Impairment charges on loans and advances fell by 16% over the last year, going from £1.7bn in 2009 to £1.4bn as at the end of March.

Loans and advances to customers grew 7% across the group’s retail book, with the most significant rise in UK Retail Banking.

Barclays says this has been driven by continued growth in the UK home finance and the acquisition of Standard Life Bank earlier this year.

John Varley, group chief executive at Barclays, says: “I am pleased with the strong growth in profits which we have delivered this quarter.

“Diversification of our business and risk, and good underlying performance, have combined to produce this result.

“The improvement that we have seen in impairment reflects the signs of economic recovery now evident in many of the markets in which we operate.”