SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) — Major South Korean financial holding firm Shinhan Financial Group Co. said Friday its net profit hit an all-time high in the first quarter on better interest margins and non-bank units’ strong performances.

Net income came to 1.19 trillion won (US$1.06 billion) in the January-March period, up 27.8 percent from a year earlier, the banking group said in a regulatory filing.

The first-quarter bottom line is about 2.6 times the 464.4 billion won recorded three months earlier.

Shinhan Financial Group said it posted the largest-ever net profit in the first quarter thanks to increased interest margins and brisk growth of non-bank subsidiaries.

The group’s interest income expanded 5.7 percent on-year to 2.12 trillion won, with its non-interest income soaring 40.4 percent to 1.03 trillion won on a stock market rally.

Shinhan Financial Group’s net interest margin (NIM), or the difference between interest paid and interest received, rose to 1.81 percent in the first quarter from 1.76 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The NIM of flagship Shinhan Bank also increased to 1.39 percent from 1.34 percent over the cited period.

Shinhan Bank’s net profit amounted to 656.4 billion won in the first quarter, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, on the back of increased lending.

Net profit of Shinhan Financial Investment Co., the group’s brokerage arm, rose 3.5 times to 162.4 billion won, with that of Shinhan Card Co. soaring 32.8 percent to 168.1 billion won.

The corporate logo of Shinhan Financial Group Co. (Yonhap)