Chief Executive, Alison Rose, commented:
“NatWest Group’s strong performance in Q1 2023 is underpinned by our robust balance sheet, our high levels of capital and liquidity and our well-diversified loan book. Through a period of significant macro disruption and uncertainty, we continue to stand alongside the people, families and businesses we serve, providing targeted support and growing our lending responsibly.
Our disciplined and consistent approach to risk management means that arrears and impairments remain low. By monitoring customer behaviour and looking closely for signs of financial distress, we are able to put in place proactive measures to help those who are struggling right now and those who are worried about the future.
As we continue to make progress against our strategic priorities, NatWest Group is well positioned to navigate this challenging operating environment and to deliver sustainable growth and returns by responding to new and emerging trends that are shaping the lives of our customers.”
Strong Q1 2023 performance
- Q1 2023 attributable profit of £1,279 million and a return on tangible equity of 19.8%.
- Total income, excluding notable items, increased by £1,036 million, or 37.2%, compared with Q1 2022 principally reflecting the impact of volume growth and yield curve movements.
- Bank net interest margin (NIM) of 3.27% was 7 basis points higher than Q4 2022.
- Other operating expenses were £214 million, or 12.5%, higher than Q1 2022 driven by increased staff costs due to a one-off cost of living payment of around £60 million, increased costs in areas of strategic investment and costs in relation to our withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland. The cost:income ratio (excl. litigation and conduct) was 49.8% at Q1 2023.
- A net impairment charge of £70 million, or 7 basis points of gross customer loans, principally reflected the continued strong performance of our lending book. Levels of default remain stable and at low levels across the portfolio.
Robust balance sheet with strong capital and liquidity levels
- Net loans to customers excluding central items increased by £5.7 billion to £352.4 billion, or 1.6%, primarily reflecting £3.9 billion of mortgage growth in Retail Banking and a £1.6 billion increase in Commercial & Institutional.
- Customer deposits excluding central items reduced by £11.1 billion, or 2.6%, in the quarter reflecting around £8 billion higher customer tax payments, competition for deposits and an overall market liquidity contraction.
- The loan:deposit ratio (LDR) (excl. repos and reverse repos) was 83% at Q1 2023, with customer deposits exceeding net loans to customers by around £55 billion.
- The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) of 139%, representing £43.4 billion headroom above 100% minimum requirement, decreased by 6 percentage points compared with Q4 2022 primarily due to reduced customer deposits and lending growth.
- Common Equity Tier (CET1) ratio of 14.4% was 20 basis points higher than Q4 2022 principally reflecting the attributable profit partially offset by a £2.0 billion increase in risk-weighted assets (RWAs) and a £0.5 billion ordinary dividend accrual.
- As at 26 April 2023 we had completed £458 million of the £800 million share buyback programme announced as part of our year end 2022 results.
- RWAs increased by £2.0 billion in the quarter to £178.1 billion largely reflecting lending growth and a £1.1 billion increase associated with the annual update to operational risk balances.
- We retain the outlook guidance provided in the 2022 Annual Report and Accounts.
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