Australia’s largest lender reports eight percent rise

Sydney, Feb 16 (IANS) Australia’s largest lender by assets on Tuesday announced an eight percent rise in first quarter unaudited cash earnings on better results in its wealth division and higher lending volumes.

The National Australia Bank (NAB) on Tuesday reported cash earnings of 1.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.22 billion) for the quarter ending December 31, Xinhua reported.

The profit excludes that from the Britain based Clydesdale Bank which was spun off in a partial demerger and IPO earlier in February.

Revenue rose four percent on higher lending volumes, higher net interest margin — due to out of cycle interest rate rises — and a stronger performance in its wealth division, NAB said.

However, the ratio of 90-days past due and total impaired assets to gross loans and acceptances however edged higher to 0.68 percent from 0.63 percent at the end of September 2015, reflecting a small number of New Zealand dairy exposures totalling 420 million New Zealand dollars ($276.98 million).

NAB confirmed it took a 4.2 billion Australian dollar ($3 billion) hit on the spin-off, however the bank assured investors dividends would not be affected because it won’t be included in the company’s first half cash hearings to be announced on May 5.

The loss will be logged under discontinued operations in its statutory report.

The bank’s shares rose 23 Australian cents, or 0.93 percent, to 24.98 Australian dollars on Tuesday.

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