SINGAPORE, May 2 (Reuters) - DBS Group, Singapore's biggest bank, said on Thursday its first-quarter net profit rose 15% to a record high, driven by strong total income growth on the back of stable net interest margin and higher fee income and treasury customer sales.

DBS, the first Singapore lender to kickstart this earnings season, said January-March net profit rose to S$2.96 billion ($2.18 billion) from S$2.57 billion a year earlier.

This beat the mean estimate of S$2.48 billion from five analysts, LSEG data showed.

The quarterly net profit was the highest since the S$2.69 billion in the second quarter of 2023.

Return on equity or ROE also hit a record high of 19.4% in the first quarter, up from 18.6% a year ago. ($1 = 1.3600 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Richard Chang)