Chief executive Bill Winters said the bank made "good progress" for the quarter, following a swing back to profitability in 2016.
Chief executive Bill Winters said the bank made "good progress" for the quarter, following a swing back to profitability in 2016 after it saw its first annual loss since 1989 in 2015.
Late that year, it announced it was re-focusing on "affluent retail clients" and would exit or restructure $100 billion of assets.
The bank also said in 2015 it would cut 15,000 jobs around the world.
"The significantly increased profit before tax results from particularly low loan impairment and our focus on cost control," Winters said.
He replaced former CEO Peter Sands after shareholder calls for a boardroom cull following profit warnings.
Underlying pre-tax profit was at $1.05 billion for the first three months of the year, almost double that of the same period last year and beating five analysts' average estimate of $850 million.
The London-based bank said loan impairment was "unusually low" at $198 million, down 58 percent year-on-year.
"We remain cautious about credit conditions in our markets," it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Its shares on the London Stock Exchange, where it is also listed, were up 2.98 percent in morning trade after the announcement.
-- Bloomberg News contributed to this report --