Bank Intesa SanPaolo's earnings up by nearly 40 percent

Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo says its profits grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter due to higher fees and commissions as the bank also moved to further cut costs and reduce its stock of non-performing loans.

Italy's second-largest bank on Tuesday reported a net income of 1.25 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in the period ending March 31, up from 901 million euros in 2017.

Net fees and commissions grew 4.5 percent to 2 billion euros due to continued growth in assets under management, up 5 billion euros in the quarter. Net interest was flat at 1.8 billion euros. Operating costs were down 1.3 percent from 2.3 billion euros last year.

The bank reduced its portfolio of non-performing loans by 1.5 billion euros in the first quarter.