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NatWest profit rises as bank releases bad-debt provisions

Thu 29 April 2021 07:03 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - NatWest's first-quarter profit rose 82% as the bank released money set aside for bad debts early in the pandemic.

Operating pretax profit for the three months to the end of March increased to £946m from £519m a year earlier as revenue dropped to £2.66bn from £3.16bn. The FTSE 100 bank wrote back £102m of impairment costs after taking an £802m charge in the first quarter of 2020.

The bank said it released the bad-debt provisions with defaults low and with the UK's vaccine programme rolling out successfully. NatWest stuck to the outlook guidance published with its annual results in February.

Income fell because of record low interest rates, subdued business transactions and reduced consumer spending during the pandemic, the bank, formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, said.

Alison Rose, NatWest's chief executive, said: "NatWest Group's profit in the first quarter of 2021 is a result of a good operating performance in our core franchises as well as modest impairment releases that reflect the better than expected performance of our loan book across the first three months of the year."

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