Scandinavian banking and insurance group Nordea saw net earnings rise by 34% in Q1 against the same period last year, although the firm admitted that costs also increased by 3%.

However the group will be well pleased with the rise in income, up 11% to E1.76 billion. The result was above both Nordea’s own and most analysts’ predictions.

The successful execution of our growth strategy in continuing favorable market conditions combined with the strength of the Nordea business model has led to strong growth in all business areas, said Lars Nordstrom, CEO of Nordea.

The gap between income and cost development has widened despite continued fierce competition and a moderate cost increase. The eighth consecutive quarter with positive net loan losses reflects the strong credit quality in Nordea and the favorable macroeconomic environment. Our results are well ahead of financial targets, and we will continue to capture profitable growth opportunities without compromising our strict cost and risk management, Mr Nordstrom added.