“Throughout Q3 2021, NatWest continued to deliver a strong operating performance; growing in key areas and accelerating our digital transformation to improve customer experience and make our business more efficient. Our robust capital position means that we have been able to buy back £402 million of our shares to date(1) whilst also investing for growth as we support our customers and drive sustainable returns to our shareholders.
Although we are seeing challenges in the economy and for our customers – especially around supply chains and the cost of living – a number of key indicators remain positive; growth is good, unemployment is low and there are limited signs of default across our book. We have a vital role to play in helping the 19 million people, families and businesses we serve in communities throughout the UK to thrive. Because when they thrive, so do we.
NatWest Group has made addressing the climate challenge and supporting our customers through the transition a key strategic priority. We recently announced a new target to deliver an additional £100 billion of Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing between 1 July 2021 and the end of 2025, having exceeded our initial two-year target of £20 billion in less than 18 months.”
Financial performance in a challenging environment
Q3 2021 operating profit before tax of £1,074 million, attributable profit of £674 million and a return on tangible equity (RoTE) of 8.5%.
Income across the UK and RBSI retail and commercial businesses, excluding notable items, increased by £103 million, or 4.4%, compared with Q3 2020 principally reflecting balance sheet growth. NatWest Markets (NWM) income, excluding asset disposals/strategic risk reduction and OCA, decreased by £175 million, or 62.5%, compared with Q3 2020 reflecting continued weakness in Fixed Income which was impacted by subdued levels of customer activity and ongoing reshaping of the business.
Bank net interest margin (NIM) excluding Liquid Asset Buffer (LAB) decreased by 6 basis points to 2.34% compared with Q2 2021 principally reflecting the Q2 2021 tax variable lease repricing in Commercial Banking. Bank NIM of 1.54% decreased by 7 basis points.
Other expenses, excluding operating lease depreciation (OLD) and Ulster Bank RoI direct costs, were £198 million, or 4.3% lower for the year to date.
A net impairment release of £242 million in Q3 2021 mainly reflects releases in non-default portfolios, principally in Commercial Banking.
Robust balance sheet with strong capital and liquidity levels
CET1 ratio of 18.7% was 50 basis points higher than Q2 2021 largely reflecting the attributable profit and reduction in RWAs partially offset by the foreseeable dividend accrual.
The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) of 166%, representing £78.6 billion headroom above 100% minimum requirement, increased by 2 percentage points compared with Q2 2021, reflecting continued growth in customer deposits.
Net lending decreased by £1.7 billion to £361.0 billion during Q3 2021. Across the UK and RBSI retail and commercial businesses, net lending excluding UK Government support schemes increased by £2.9 billion, including £2.5 billion related to mortgage growth, with year to date annualised growth of 3.1%.
Customer deposits increased by £9.1 billion compared with Q2 2021 to £476.3 billion. Across the UK and RBSI retail and commercial businesses customer deposits increased by £8.5 billion, or 2.0%, largely due to customers continuing to build and retain liquidity and higher short term placements in RBS International (RBSI).
RWAs decreased by £3.2 billion to £159.8 billion during Q3 2021 mainly reflecting business movements in Commercial Banking and unwinding of the Q2 2021 increase in NWM following regulatory approval to update the VaR model to remove the impact of GBP LIBOR cessation.