ABN Amro beat first-quarter expectations helped by a 99% fall in bad loan impairments, an anomaly despite a robust Dutch economy, the bank said today. 

The bank, which does more than 80% of its business in the Netherlands, reported underlying profit of €475m, down from €543m a year earlier. 

Today's figure beat the €423m expected by analysts polled for Reuters. 

Profit fell year on year due to higher regulatory costs, lower commission fees, and losses on hedges, ABN said. 

Net interest margins improved by three basis points to 1.51%. 

The bank's loan impairments fell to just €2m from €38m. 

"Almost nil, well below the average through the economic cycle," the bank's chief executive Gerrit Zalm said in a statement. 

ABN estimated Dutch GDP growth would be above average at 1.7% in 2016, but said risks to the economy are "to the downside" given worse-than-expected private consumption so far this year. 

In November, the Dutch state floated a 23% stake in ABN, privatising the bank seven years after it was nationalised after a €24 billion bailout in 2007. 

Separately, ABN said the European Central Bank had approved Olga Zoutendijk to become the bank's new supervisory board chairwoman, as proposed in early April. 

Zoutendijk, 55, the current board vice president, held senior posts at Australia's Westpac and at Standard Chartered in Asia before joining ABN's board in 2014. She replaces the retiring Rik van Slingelandt.