NatWest Swings to Profit as Pandemic Loan Charges Fall

LONDON, Oct 30 Reuters British lender NatWest reported forecastbeating third quarter earnings on Friday, setting aside a smallerthenexpected cash pile to deal with likely loan defaults due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank posted a 355 million pound 462.67 million pretax profit for the JulySeptember period, compared to a 75 million pound loss in an average of analyst forecasts.

NatWest booked a further 254 million pounds provision for expected bad loans, compared to the 628 million pounds forecast. The bank said provisions for the year would be at the lower end of a 3.54.5 billion pound range previously given.

Rivals Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays also set aside smaller provisions in their third quarter earnings compared to earlier in the year, as government financial support measures delay some economic pain to next year.

NatWest remains 62 owned by taxpayers following its bailout in the 200809 financial crisis.

The quarterly profit for NatWest came despite a 324 million pound charge for buying back its own debt, as it redeemed some bonds set to lose their regulatory capital benefits and therefore become too expensive, the bank said.

The bank had plunged into the red in the first half of this year on a 2.9 billion pound provision against potential loan losses.

Despite pressure on profits across the industry, NatWest strengthened its core capital ratio a key measure of financial strength further to 18.2, up from 17.2 previously.

Before the pandemic the bank had…

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