By Sabela Ojea

 

NatWest Group PLC on Friday reported an unexpected swing to operating pretax profit for the third quarter of 2020 despite booking a considerable amount of impairments, and said that its retail banking customer activity levels improved significantly compared with the second quarter of the year.

The U.K. bank posted an operating pretax profit of 355 million pounds ($459 million) after booking GBP254 million in impairment losses. This compares with an operating pretax loss of GBP8 million for the same period a year earlier and a loss of GBP1.29 billion in the second quarter of the year.

NatWest was expected to report an operating pretax loss of GBP75 million for the third quarter of the year, and impairment losses of GBP628 million, according to the bank's own compilation of forecasts.

The FTSE-100 listed bank's total income declined to GBP2.42 billion from GBP2.90 billion in the year-earlier period. The lender said total income decreased due to lower fee income on overdrafts, lower deposit returns, mortgage margin dilution and lower international spend-related fee income, which was partially offset by strong balance growth in mortgages and customer deposits.

Nat West's common equity Tier 1 capital ratio--a measure of a bank's financial strength--stood at 18.2%, up from 17.2% as at June 30. It was anticipated at 16.7%, according to the lender's compilation of forecasts.

The bank added that it maintains its outlook guidance for the whole year, but noted that impairment charges are now likely to be at the lower end of the GBP3.5 billion-GBP4.5 billion range.

 

Write to Sabela Ojea at sabela.ojea@wsj.com; @sabelaojeaguix

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2020 03:41 ET (07:41 GMT)

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