National Australia Bank, the nation’s largest bank, said Thursday that net profit rose 7.1 percent on strong lending growth for the half year ending March 31.

Profit for the half year ending March 31 was $2.136 billion, up from $1.994 billion in the same half year period a year ago.

“The cash earnings of both Australian banking and wealth management showed strong improvement, particularly in the areas of business lending, retail deposits and investment sales,” Chief Executive Officer John Steward said in the statement

Mr Steward added that the data said it was a “good all-round result”

Total lending - including gross loans, advances and acceptances - rose by 13.7 percent to $367 billion in the first half.

Cash earnings from ongoing operations rose 22.8 per cent to $2.196 billion.

“We increased revenue and lending, with flat operating costs and a stable net interest margin.,” Steward said. “This demonstrates our progress in improving all aspects of our business.”