LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group on Thursday reported its first quarter profit remained steady, defying analysts' expectations of a dip in performance at Britain's biggest mortgage lender following the vote last June to leave the European Union.
Lloyds said underlying profit before tax was 2.1 billion pounds ($2.70 billion), in what will likely be the lender's last earnings update before a return to full private ownership following its state bailout during the 2008 crisis.
That was level with the same period a year ago, and better than the average estimate of 1.9 billion pounds according to analysts polled by Reuters.
"These results continue to demonstrate the strength of our customer focused, simple and low risk business model," Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said in a statement.
Lloyds reported its net interest margin rose to 2.8 percent from 2.74 percent a year ago and said it expected the measure to hold at the new level this year, again defying expectations the key measure of profitability would dip on economic uncertainty. ($1 = 0.7772 pounds) (Reporting By Lawrence White; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)